This will not win me many friends on the vendor side, but what I am going to suggest will better help dealers structure their month. I understand “sales” is often linked to persistence and determination, but there needs to be limits. I’m recommending that dealers create a Vendor Visit Protocol, so they can win back time in their day.
Dealers: Do you seem to have vendors walking in unannounced on a daily basis, whether they are current partners of your dealer, or simply trying to sell their wares? It can be a major time suck, am I right?
We have scheduled weekly live video training calls with many of our clients, and every single week we are interrupted because a random vendor decides to drop in on them with no advance warning, as if they deserve time on the spot of executive management, As an information-hungry industry always trying to stay ahead of the game, dealers offer up their time to listen to countless pitches, presentations, and updates, regardless of when vendors come knocking. Unexpected visitors can throw your entire day’s responsibilities off track, not counting having to field the endless “when do you want to get started” razzmatazz sales calls after the fact. As if offering to view their products or tech means the sale is imminent.
Here is the protocol we’ve had some clients put in place:
Dealers must set aside one entire day per month where vendors be allowed to visit in store (or via webinar) and discuss their deliverables or present their services, whether they are existing or potential clients. Vendors who are able to get on the day’s schedule are expected to:
Show up on time
Stay within their allotted time
Present best numbers on the spot
In return, all decision makers will be present for these meetings. And it is only one day a month. No dropping in at the vendor’s convenience. This way, with all decision makers present, a sound determination can be made by day’s end whether they want to consider the new partners, rethink current agreements, or pass. Dedicating one full day out of 25+ working days is not a lot to ask of a dealer representative if it frees up their other 24 days of the month. And if a vendor calls on you asking to present, and all of the slots for that month are spoken for, they will have to politely wait until the following month. It’s called waiting your turn.
It is time dealers stop segmenting their day away from all of their retail duties to acquiesce to the requests of vendors’ schedules. Being a consultant, regardless how much my brain tells me otherwise, I realize I am a vendor. With that said, I would never “swing by” uninvited because I know the rigors of dealership life. You never have enough time in your day to complete all you would like, so it is simply unfair I ask you to dedicate more time to me, without your previous approval.
Get your day back. Put people in line. Organize your month and give full attention to the vendors who want to win your business on the date and time assigned to them. In other words, tell them to please take a number.