Mastering the changing market has become one of the most important components of thriving dealerships to date. As new and unexpected challenges arise, the ability to adapt, pivot, and thrive in the face of adversity not only sets your business up for survival—it gives you a serious advantage over the competition. But what (exactly) is it about those dealers who always seem to thrive? While others merely survive, they seem to come out better than before. We heard from a dealership that fits that description in a recent episode of Dealer Advantage, in partnership with CBT News. In the interview, SVP of Dealer Software Solutions for Cox Automotive, Lori Wittman, digs deep to uncover the three key secrets that make Byers Automotive Group successful.
Secret 1: Find a DMS Partner Who Helps with Training
The team at Byers, and especially Linda Crossman, Director of Systems Operations and Training, investing in their staff is a top priority. And it starts from day one. “For new hires, we use Dealertrack DMS and VinSolutions ‘new hire’ training. I make sure everybody gets the information that they need. The videos that are supplied online through Dealertrack are awesome,” notes Crossman. And that’s the secret: Crossman and her team know the value of leveraging their technology provider’s resources and assets when it comes to getting each and every team member on track. And Wittman notes, in a recent post, when it comes to thriving dealerships, training can make, or break, your odds of success. “On its most basic level, this common thriver behavior includes cross-training employees and teaching them how to use new technologies,” Wittman writes. “In fact, according to the “How to Thrive” study, almost half (48%) of thrivers provide opportunities for cross-training while only 27% of static dealerships do the same.”
Secret 2: Use Technology that Delivers the Data
Data continuity—or how well your customer’s information travels across key technologies—helps thriving dealerships operate at a higher level than their peers. As Crossman explains, “The DMS is the nucleus of the whole operation.” As access to data becomes more restricted, and as dealerships become more optimized to deliver online services, data is quickly becoming the currency of successful businesses. According to the “How to Thrive” report, 86% of dealers agree that having accurate and complete data is a priority at their dealership. Crossman explains, “Everything coming in, passing through, moving onto the next phase…it’s important that (the DMS) is able to capture all of that information. The DMS is able to help you make that decision on whether you want to take that extra step with your customer. We depend on it a lot.”
“The DMS is the nucleus of the whole operation.” – Linda Crossman, Director of Systems Operations and Training at Byers Automotive
Secret 3: Embrace Change to Level-up
Dealers are no stranger to change in the automotive industry. Yet, as Crossman shares, change can be a big hurdle for some. “We have some salespeople who have not adapted. The ones who have are watching their peers become very successful.” New technology, tools, and processes are simply a must for thriving dealerships, however. This is why the team at Byers partnered with technology vendors who take on some of the change management workloads for them. “We have what called Performance Managers. So when we want to start a new process or make a decision about handling something new a new challenge, we have a Performance Manager for Dealertrack DMS, Xtime, and VinSolutions that helps us move through that process.” With a minimum of ten years experience, Performance Managers partner with dealers to get more from their technology, master skills training, and set goals and initiatives for the business.
Thriving dealers know: if you’re going to step up and move to the next level, you’ll need the right tools, training, and support in place to set your people up for success along the way. And, you can’t be afraid of change. When it comes to stepping up and moving to the next level, the team at Byers leveraged the support of their vendors while taking the time to listen to their customers. They, and other thriving businesses, have proven that tough times tend to make tough dealers even stronger.
Check out the interview with Byers Automotive below and read more about the Data Behind Thriving Dealerships with Lori Wittman.