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The Dealership’s 2017 New Year’s Resolution List

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April Rain is the marketologist for Digital Rain Inc.

As January 1st quickly approaches and everyone reminisces over their 2016 successes and regrets, for some, the latter of the two weighs more heavily. However, the promise of a new year brings hope and a fresh, optimistic perspective. Just as we discard our old calendars and reset the financial books, the New Year gives us the opportunity to abandon any residual disappointment and realign our aspirations.
Amongst those eager resolution goers, there is one who will stand out. One who will approach their crew on Monday morning and begin the Automotive Credo of how this is the year they’ll dominate those lowballing, no-gross competitors across the way. His words will be intense and mildly theatrical, somewhat like a coach in front of his team prepping them for the big win. Each department will stare at him or her, inspired by their fearless leader, even though they are still recovering from the unicorn of dealership holidays — a two-day weekend (except for you dealers not in Blue Law states).

But after that speech, many times that inspiration only pulses through everyone’s veins until about lunchtime, when it gets tossed away with the “holiday sale” signs. So, how do we avoid this common travesty? Well, there’s the good ol’ ancient Babylonian tradition of resolutions.

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But do resolutions work?

  • Studies show that an average of 45 percent of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions[i]
  • Approximately 39 percent of people in their twenties accomplish their resolutions
  • Less than 15 percent of individuals over 50 keep their resolutions

(Meaning, don’t be so stuck in your ways)

And then there are those 38 percent of Americans that say “screw it” and never set New Year’s Resolutions. I on the other hand, set my goals in November because if I don’t consider them to be resolutions, that makes them real goals, which I believe are less dismissive.

Even though dealers believe themselves to be unique snowflakes, they are all run by humans and navigated by technologies, which leave them victim to the same handicaps, vices and deficiencies.

After speaking with literally thousands of dealerships over a span of several years, and despite changes in technologies or medias, the underlining goals remain relativity consistent. So I have aggregated the most common here in this list.

The 2017 Dealership New Year’s Resolution List.

We Will:
•    Fully utilize our CRM
•    Spend more time with phone training
•    Ask every customer for a testimonial
•    Manage our reviews more carefully
•    Keep vendors for a minimum of three months to determine if they’re working
•    Stop jumping back and forth between “cradle-to-grave” and BDC
•    Do a better job of marketing to our service customers
•    Update our CRM templates
•    Go to conferences for the sessions and not the free vendor dinners and parties
•    Take more videos, and post more videos
•    Reduce the time the customers have to wait to drive their new car
•    Call prospects more than once before giving up on them
•    Set up legitimate customer texting, not our questionable renegade process
•    Check our email sender score to see if we are blacklisted
•    Learn more about SEO & SEM from experts, not just the vendors pitching you
•    Build a loyalty program that’s more than just free carwashes
•    Figure out my VDP to lead ratio by listing site
•    Listen to sales calls on a consistent basis — not just when I feel like it
•    Purge old contacts from our CRM
•    Track our attribution: from Web to lead, to appointment, to show, to close, to first service
•    Hold our vendors accountable for the deliverables they promised when they sold us
•    Review providers and systems at scheduled checkpoints not just when sales are down
•    Approach our marketing as proactive, not reactive
•    Delegate more and hold each other accountable
•    Focus on the customer not just the gross
•    Purge old systems or habits and drop what’s not working and move on
•    Invest in a mobile beacon
•    Use a hiring company to vet out and secure the best possible employees
•    Focus on building our internal culture and much as we do on driving sales
•    Get more involved with our local community
•    Be more open-minded to new ideas, media or marketing approaches
•    Network with successful dealers outside my market and learn from others
•    Set realistic goals
•    Spend more time listening than talking
•    Create a healthy work and home balance
•   Create specific goals not just “sell more” or “have a higher gross.” Example: We’ll decrease our cost of customer acquisition by 5 percent in Q1

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I am sure there are a plethora of items we could add to this but let’s wrap this blog up with a few mushy, feel-good reminders.

  • This list should remind us that we are not alone; we are all flawed, and no person or dealership is perfect. But what separates the winners from the losers is the mentality that every day is an opportunity to be just a little bit better if we try.
  • Success is not magical leprechauns that will just appear out of nowhere; it’s something you have to work towards. Victory takes time. The people who accomplish their goals set themselves up to win. Read up on best practices to achieve goals.

For example:

Here are three steps you can take to increase the likelihood that you will accomplish your goals:
1) Communicate goals clearly to yourself and to your team.
2) Keep your goals where you can see them with daily visual reminders.
3) Give all goals specific deadlines.

If you get stuck just tweet me @april_rain. I can’t promise words of wisdom, but I can offer support, encouragement, and comic relief.

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I wish everyone good luck and a very Happy New Year.

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