Trust is not the same as truth. I can trust in something, like a promise, that may not work out. When evaluating a decision, trust and truth must be considered carefully. You can go about this a couple ways:
Trust, but verify, is one. It means to accept, in a cautious way, as you check out facts and speak to others who know the situation or individuals. Observation over time reveals character; that’s another way.
We asked several dealers their thoughts.
“This is a topic we have recently tussled with,” said Denim Simkins, service director for Performance Ford, Bountiful, UT, part of the Performance Automotive Network, operating 18 dealerships in Ohio and Utah.
“My formula,” Simkins said, “is that truth must equal reality — and that trust is a firm belief in that reality.
“When vetting a vendor pitch, I always get feedback from a current user and ask how they feel after the honeymoon phase and how responsive the vendor is to change or improvements. Does this product actually do what it claims it can do, and is it helpful and impactful for my business?” Simkins said.
John Napoleon, dealer principal for Carson City Hyundai in Carson City, NV, gives others his expectations first before asking for theirs. “Then I look them in the eye when I get their commitment.”
David Simches, the group used car director for Crown Automotive Group, said, “If you have a trusted vendor, they listen to you and fix any concerns. If not, I cancel them.” Crown operates 25 dealerships in Florida, Ohio and Tennessee.
“When I do end up in a new vendor relationship, I watch the product functionality, our usage and our results closely. If it’s not happening, I let the vendor know. If nothing’s done in response, I end the relationship quickly,” Simches said.
Simkins believes trust “should be” a given. “One minor crack in the trust armor and I am completely turned off and will not even search to find the truth,” he said. “Truth for me comes from the person I ask, ‘Can it do this?’ and then when the product demonstrates it can perform to my needs.”
J.D. Dantzler, general manager for Manly Honda in Santa Rosa, CA, observed, “I have to say that the solution is not trust but one of understanding. Trust can be broken, but an understanding between parties about the need and desire to serve each other has served me best for creating win-win scenarios.”
The car business has always been a trust business — it will forever remain so. Yet, as we move into a new era of efficiency supported by workflow communications, we bind together system processes and people with common metrics, creating utilities-like benefits everyone shares in an increasingly enduring partnership.