Posted December 7th, 2022 by Arnold Tijerina
Although there have been definite improvements, it is still a challenge for many dealers to keep up with all the technology advancements and the perks that come with them.
Dealers have been reacting to the market dynamic created by the pandemic, and it shows. They’re trying to operate with staffing shortages while being overrun with customers—it’s a lot of “just keeping my head above water” as opposed to having the time, space, and capability to ask:
How am I going to build the infrastructure and the processes in my store that are going to last and help me be successful for years and years to come?
In the past couple of years, there have been a lot of technological advances. However, dealers have been bogged down by not having enough product, trying to keep up with customer demands, and juggling staffing shortages. When you spend the entire day reacting, there’s no time to be proactive.
Suffice it to say, it’s been difficult for most dealers to focus on those advances and what’s available to them today. Another struggle is that dealers aren’t sure where to turn to learn about the latest technology. They aren’t familiar with the available resources or who to turn to gather the information they need.
How to Keep Up with Tech Trends and Integrations
It starts by being involved at your own store. You should also be involved with dealers that are smarter than you. Find those who have come before you and created a successful strategy. Watch what they do, ask questions, and learn from any mentors and/or peers who are doing better than you are. Participating in any available educational opportunities or 20 Groups available to you is a great source for not only learning but also networking.
There’s so much out there today and it’s changing so much, and so rapidly. Combined with the constant and drastic changes in consumer behavior, it’s difficult if you aren’t out there searching for it actively or putting yourself in situations with people who are discussing what’s working, what’s not working, and which tech is worth investing in.
You can guarantee that you’ll have a better pulse on the technology by:
- Paying attention to what your competition is doing.
- Talking to the right people.
- Reading a lot.
- Watching consumer behavior.
- Attending industry/OEM trade shows.
- Being aware that the world around us is changing.
Dealers tend to get so bogged down in the store, and even more so for those who are running multiple stores or dealerships. And yet, if they take just a few minutes to look around, to ask around, they will be able to identify touchpoints at which tech can help them improve their processes and interactions.
Today, we can communicate faster and easier than ever before. Tech has enabled that.
We can install systems like the PSX Digital platform, which has AI built into it to simplify follow-up and help those dealers get out of the deep end once and for all.
But before we can do any of it, dealers must be aware of it, understand what it means, and understand how it can improve their dealerships and the way that we do business not only internally but also with customers.
What is needed is more education around CRMs and why dealers want them in their stores, as well as what’s necessary as an owner to succeed with a CRM.
There’s all this cool technology out there, but often, people still aren’t getting the basics done. And even when dealers and salespeople are using the technology, dealers aren’t necessarily aware of the benefits or what they’re actually using it for (besides the fact that they heard somewhere that it was a good idea).
Change for the Sake of Change is Wasted
The biggest problem is that the technology available to dealers (or any business, for that matter) is only going to be about 20% effective if the dealership doesn’t have a basic structure for education and change.
That means that 80% of their investment is going unused, unnoticed, and misunderstood by everyone, from their leadership to their sales team and probably even their customers, to some degree.
Part of the issue is that when dealers are implementing technology, especially when it’s sold well, they often anticipate that it’s going to be like a light switch. They think they’ll be able to install the new software and then set it and forget it, and it will just work. But CRMs and other technology tools are not like light switches at all.
These are process tools and so many people focus on if it’s working, never looking at themselves and wondering, “Are we supposed to be working it?”
And more importantly, how are we supposed to be working it?
There is so much training, education and understanding involved in implementing new technology and dealers unfortunately underestimate this and, out of comfort, fall back on the path of least resistance. And that path doesn’t include the best structure or plan for technology adoption.
User expert Sean Gerety gets it exactly right with his quote on experience:
“The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.”
People know that technology is important to their dealerships. They also know that it can improve their customer’s experience. They might even be familiar with the benefit of improving the sales team’s experience. And yet, they often get caught up in just integrating the technology and going, “There! We have it!”
You can’t just “have” it. You must use it. And you can’t just use it (or enforce its use) for the sake of it. You need to have a framework in place, a structure in mind, and a set of problems or issues that you want to resolve or improve by utilizing technology.
Otherwise, you’re wasting every single dollar and hour of your time spent on integrating a CRM, even if it’s the exact right perfect tool for your business. No tool is any better than the person who’s supposed to know how and to use it properly.