There are two ways to sell more cars.
The first is to crank up the advertising. TV, Radio, Print, Billboards, Internet and Social Media. There is no doubt that if you spend enough money, traffic will eventually show up. Even if you have a lousy sales department, you will still sell cars because the odds are that lots of potential customers will show up and some of those "ups" are going to make you sell them a car.
Another way to sell more cars is to invest money in developing your organization. Investing in your staff and the culture of your business has the potential to give you long term results. This is a slower process, but one that allows you to build a solid organization that will not only take you well into the future, but will make your daily life a lot easier to deal with.
If your advertising budget exceeds your sales then just because you sold a bunch of cars doesn’t mean you made any money. Loading up on advertising gives you short term results, which isn’t always a bad thing, but when you begin to rely on short term results you may be jeopardizing your long term successes.
Advertising is short term spending. Think about how many times in your career that you have started an advertising campaign only to pull the plug after a week or two because you didn’t see immediate results. You end up with a knee jerk mentality.
Why is it easier to spend short term money than long term money? The spending of long term money requires greater discipline and planning, which is much harder to do. Spending long term money requires strategic planning, which is something that most people do not have a lot of experience with.
Many successful people in the car business have succeeded in part because of their ability to make something happen right now. They are action people. It’s a big part of who they are and how they got to where they are today.
The automotive business, like all businesses, is becoming much more complex than it was 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Just because you’ve achieved success in the past doing it "your way" doesn’t guarantee you will be successful in the future.
Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including the allocation of capital and people.
Of course advertising is big part of any strategic plan, but when you allocate more of your resources to advertising than you are allocating toward developing your staff and the culture of your organization then you end up fighting with the same old problems from month to month, year to year.
Developing a strategic plan requires time and resources. Don’t wait until your December planning meeting to get it going. Do it now, start it today, right this minute, don’t hesitate.
Confucius says "He who hesitates gets run over by a truck." I made that up, that’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs