Best PracticesDealership MarketingDealership Operations & Processes

Don’t Catch Digital Chlamydia

“Is that vendor fine or what? Maybe I’ll bring it back to my place.”

“I’d like to get my hands on that software and take it for a ride.”

“I think what I have works, but it seems like experimenting with a new partner may be fun.”

Many dealers are returning from NADA (or Digital Dealer, IDS, Dealer Huddle or any of the other dozen conferences that seem to be going on every month) having reviewed countless vendors that caught their eye. Now comes the question as to whether to pull the trigger on a new digital solution.

Vendors know each other’s offerings so well nowadays they understand that one small element of theirs to hang their hat on and sway dealers to their side. You shouldn’t always be looking to leave your current partner (something Bill spoke about in his blog about The Bachelor.)

On some occasions, yes, a vendor switch can be valuable to your organization. More often than not, it’s unnecessary. As a matter of fact, turning your back on the relationship you’re in to get your hands dirty with another solution can get your dealership sick. If it was the perfect match, wouldn’t you have found them earlier?

Starting over with a brand new digital agency/CRM/website/social media/etc. can wreak havoc on your sales team, hurt revenue, drain your budget due to large set-up costs, and toss money into a new digital campaign that will take at least a couple of months to prove its effectiveness. Anyone who believes one provider has some secret sauce to Google that no other has cracked needs their head examined.

Ask yourself a question. Do you even know how to measure your current provider properly?

If you don’t know definitively if they’re doing right or wrong by you, why switch on a hunch? Get hard facts before making an abrupt change. If you know it’s in your best interest to provide training and support to an employee struggling before firing them, why wouldn’t your first order of business be to see if you can collectively make it work with who you’re already with first? Task them with improving their numbers before seeking a new partner that may only be using you as a one-night-stand client anyway.

The grass isn’t always greener on the vendor side. The last thing you need is to leave your current partner just for the possibility of happiness with another. Do your homework. Gather data. Ask their other partners about what it’s like to be in a relationship with them (and not just the few they give that tell you how great they are).

Try to make it work with your current partner first. If you feel you’ve reached the end, understand everything that potential partner will do for you, not just can do for you. If dealers keep jumping from one partner to the next, they’ll eventually make a mistake. Don’t fly loose and fast with your budget just because something looks good. Seek opinions and data.

Every dealer needs a trusted expert capable of prescribing a good chemical cocktail of quality vendors. Do you have one like DealerKnows that can steer you away from making vendor decisions that could contaminate your budget?

The last thing you want to do is catch a contract you’re itching to get out of, but one that will not go away easily.

Automotive trainer and consultant. I'm also a writer, speaker, movie buff, and Dad. --President of DealerKnows--