While the experts pontificate on which direction the automobile business is headed, thousands of professionals go about their day totally unaware of the chatter. Intellectual enthusiasts debate the next greatest enhancement to the business as innovators sell their wares. Change, as a necessary evolution; is as essential as the invention of the integrated circuit was to the computer industry.
Ideas abounded on the internet, can be perceived as complex and contradictive. Automotive experts debate the validity of social media while buzzwords such as, SEM, SEO, Velocity, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have begun to replace traditional dealership vernacular. Manufacturers have re-directed their marketing efforts to include online marketing campaigns in hopes of capturing product defectors. Dealers are in a constant struggle for market gains while controlling expenses that drain revenue. In search of the quick fix, cure all mentality; some dealers have chosen to modify their staff frequently in an effort to capture market share.
The internet has forced dealership management to re-think the conventional pricing policies that have been dogged for years. There is a serious disconnect between the used vehicle wholesale market place and actual retail market levels. Theoretically, the values of both the wholesale and retail market move in tandem, however there are periods where such as now where they are not in alignment. E-contracting is gaining substantial ground in the retail segment. Peter Radike, director of product management for Fiserv says “it’s not a bold statement to say ‘self-service’ is going to be the majority of the way people do the financing for their cars in five years.”
Adaptation and change are prerequisites to successful dealership operations. Managers must learn to cultivate leadership qualities from a variety of personnel. Profitable dealerships have sustainability because the focus is on building leaders within. Likewise, training is paramount for continued growth and prosperity. Somewhere within the genetic structure of a successful dealership beats the heart of a driven leader.
Creative, forward thinking professionals are the catalysts for change in our business. Innovators are creating new streams of revenue utilizing cutting edge technology. Dealerships and their management teams have had to alter their approach to owner retention while managing online reputation. Successful dealerships are constantly reinventing themselves through the experimentation of ideas. Make no mistake about it; the entrepreneurial spirit lives on in the automotive world.