I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a discussion heat up about the battle between trusting data and relying on your gut. While futurists may tell you that technology will usher our industry into a new age, I’m here to say that there is a happy medium between what we expect and what we experience. New generations of auto enthusiasts join our industry every day. With them come new ideas and creative solutions.
And to be honest, I welcome this. Full transparency, I haven’t always been a fan of data or technology. But, like many of you, I’ve always been a car guy. I was exposed to the automotive industry at a young age. In the late 1970s, my father had come out of the military and started a career in automotive sales. He would regularly bring me into the store to check out the unique vehicles he had. Sometimes he would even bring a demo home to show me how great it was. The sounds and the looks of late 70s and early 80s Gray Market-exotics and American muscle cars framed the passion that I have for automotive today.
Eventually, I found a way to maintain a love for my passion while generating income. Before I was even done with school, I had my first job in automotive retail sales. And upon completion of college, I started as a manager-in-training for one of the nation’s largest automotive groups. I literally watched the retail side of the Industry evolve from advertising in local newspapers to where we are today. As a result, I now have a great sense of how the auto industry works based on actual experience.
But I consider myself old school, so when these advances were brought on, I was hesitant to give up my books and use technology. Some of you might still be this way, carrying inventory price sheets in your back pocket. But for me, for now, my back pocket is reserved for my cell phone. This isn’t to say that I have given up on my gut and am leaving the old ways behind. But seeing the possibilities that tech brings to automotive is exciting.
The way I work now is by respecting the knowledge I have gained over the years and trusting the data and technology that is currently available. This makes me more efficient in helping my partners become more profitable. I think back to the days of stuffing ragged Black Books in our pockets and can’t help but wonder if they are officially over.
For modern automotive retail, we need to be able to get answers more accurately and faster. Yes, your experience is great. So why not leverage that? Don’t shut the door on your gut. Rather, use it to help you make informed decisions based on data provided by new solutions. Marry these two schools of thought and you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders (or back pocket).
At the end of the day, everything we do is for the customer. The modern consumer wants a better, more streamlined experience. They want to know that you are pricing against the current market and not some book from your back pocket cross-referenced with the local newspaper. But at the same time, they want you to be a knowledgeable and trusted advisor. Consult them with your wisdom and educate them with data.
Respect the industry, its history, and our future. I know that I have a fresh sense of direction when I use the data to make informed decisions. If you have any questions on how data, next-generation solutions, and your gut can come together to create a powerhouse capable of driving your business, please reach out to me.