That first day at the beach was always exciting. It was a TOO day. Too much food. Too much water. And way too much sun. It often made the second day at the beach a depressing stay in the house day. Everyone new you were burnt and would try to slap you on the back or grab your arm to watch you cringe. Yet, we did it every year because we knew the effects would only be temporary. In a couple of days the burn turned to a tan and then by vacation's end, you began to peel. It was as if you were really leaving all of your vacation behind.
Sometimes we get a sunburn at the dealership. We bring in a "consultant," a trainer, a new system learned at a 20 Group meeting, or other new system. The initial excitement makes things look super successful. Then, within a few days, the burn turns to a tan and the excitement is gone. Soon you're peeling the remnants of your newest "solution to all problems" off your dealership and head back to the trade journals for the next fix.
Is there a way to extend the effect or perhaps avoid it all together?
The answer is often the same as other questions asked in the dealership. Do you have a specific outcome that you're looking for? Having a target result is the first step in making a decision to consider a service that will result in change. Then, add a second, long-range target. Ask yourself what you want the results to be 6-12 months after your specialist leaves. Being able to see those results over many months is the only sign of a successful decision. How do you make sure that service can deliver?
Dealers always ask us for a list of clients. Other dealers who have used our services that they can speak with. Many companies have references you can speak with. A lot of them brag about sharing their most recent results. That's when the sunburn is still in effect. We share clients that we had completed assignments 6-12 months earlier. We also add new clients so the potential dealer can compare. This allows dealers to hear about results still working long-term as well as hearing what we did recently. That makes it easier to determine if we are a good fit for them.
Ask your prospective vendor/consultant/service for older clients as well as new ones. Then, call them! Ask the questions you feel best fit the results you want. Then decide if this is really the direction you want to take your team. Sometimes a great vendor with an impeccable reputation is actually NOT the best fit for you. Perhaps you have a solution that's local while other issues require a nationally known company.
Finding a good match is like putting on sunscreen. You can enjoy the time at the beach and never get burnt!
John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. . (c)2012 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.