Are we going through a normal business cycle? I think not. My parents and grandparents went through the “Great Depression.” Thus, their lives and especially the way they think about money and how they spend it was dramatically changed forever.
A lot of dealers have learned some valuable lessons through these tough times and will take a much different approach to how they spend money and run their businesses.
One of the things I’ve noticed about the automobile business over the years is that dealers make the most money when they are coming out of hard times.
They get back to the fundamentals they know to be so very effective. As business starts to get better the bottom line rocks. But, the better and better business gets, the sloppier and sloppier dealers tend to get.
Right now a lot of dealers are seeing an improvement in sales and profits. Most are very optimistic about the potential for additional improvement in 2011.
Being optimistic is important but that optimism has to be powered by a well disciplined plan based on the real world we live and work it.
That world will require the winners to understand they cannot keep doing business the “old fashioned” way. Here’s what winners will look like:
- Dealers who embrace the Internet and Social Media will be the big winners
- Dealers who learn to maximize technology will be the big winners
- Dealers who are willing to embrace the “new selling” environment will be the big winners
- Dealers who understand that the Internet is the “new showroom” will be the big winners
- Dealers who make pay plan changes for today’s environment will be the big winners
Your biggest enemy will be temptation. Some of the temptations you will face:
- Letting your expenses get out of control
- Going back to your old ways
- Carrying inventory you don’t need
- Letting used cars age past 45 days
- Keeping people you should not keep
- Not requiring sales people to follow the road to the sale
But the biggest temptation you will face is not allowing yourself to “Think Forward” and get outside your “Comfort Zone.”
Right now I’m tempted to keep adding to this list, but I know you’re tempted to click out of this article so that’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs