Technology is an important investment for dealerships. In nearly every aspect of buying, selling, merchandising, and financing auto sales, tech touch-points can either help, or hinder, the process. So when it comes to making a change to even one of the tools that impacts these workflows, it pays to be prepared. Automotive industry expert John Grace has worked with Dealership Principal Owners (DPOs) and General Managers (GMs) for nearly 20 years, finding key insights and practical process solutions. Here is a preview of his findings; watch the full recorded presentation online.
Step 1: Strategy
If your dealership is considering a switch, the fact is: you’re ready. But, no great success has ever happened by accident. You might be ready to let go of your old, outdated technology, but having a game-plan—with a full audit of who will be involved, what systems are impacted, and an idea of how long the transition will take—is the first step. The solution to step one is simple, though. Find a trusted partner who has been down this path before, is willing to understand your goals, and can work with your business needs.
Step 2: Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork
When it comes to a successful transition, if you don’t have support from the top stakeholders, you might want to reconsider your next move. Support has to come from the top-down. Without the guidance and support of leadership, your technology transition will sputter out. Need more time to process a change or onboard the team? That’s where leadership comes in. Having a problem with a vendor who hasn’t fulfilled their end of a contract? Bingo: leadership. Need to convince your staff that the change will work out, despite their understandable worries and fears? Leadership must be willing to address this.
Step 3: Choose Wisely
Now that you’ve made the decision to upgrade, and leadership has your back, it’s time to pull the plug on your old vendor and sign on the dotted line with a partner, not just a provider, who meets your criteria. And—this is key—be willing to ask for what you deserve. Make a list of the shortcomings from your past relationship, and be unwilling to accommodate. This is your chance to be picky, so involve your staff, your operations team, and ask other dealerships for anecdotal feedback, too.
Step 4: Build Implementation Partnerships
The most important part of a technology switch happens during implementation. This process will set the tone of your entire experience going forward, from adoption to mastery. So, be certain to find a partner with verifiable experience, and make certain they have a solid strategy for setting your dealership up for success. Remember: the relationship doesn’t end once you’ve signed a contract.
Step 5: Never. Stop. Learning.
Your business is constantly growing, and key roles will change. Discover what kind of ongoing learning, development, and training options are available for your team. Is there an online support and community to share ideas and master best-practices? How responsive is the customer support should you encounter a problem? Is this partner involved in the community, building a better future for the automotive industry?
Your technology needs are more than a necessity at your dealership. Technology drives your business forward, builds trust with your buyers, and has the potential to forge new, lasting partnerships. Successful planning, strategy, support, and implementation go a long way toward a positive transition that will bring positive results to your team, your buyers, and your bottom line. To watch John’s full presentation and learn more, go here.