Yesterday, we attended the Digital Dealer Workshop in Chicago, IL. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical of who was going to be in attendance. We’ve attended some automotive conferences in the past where there were more vendors than dealers and the dealers that were in attendance weren’t there to learn, they were invited by their vendor. That seemed to change yesterday when we noticed the ratio of dealers to vendors was much greater. We set up our booth in the AM and soon the dealers began to show up. Several dealers came up to us to just have a conversation about what we do and what their pain points were even if we didn’t have the solution for it. Some on these pain points included missing phone calls, how to solidify the appointment with a retail customer, and having relevant content, not only for search engines, but for sales people to use to sell the car. I had one BDC Manager tell me that her store struggled with content so much, that their sales people relied on photos to verify options and equipment. As a vendor, we got to sit in on other presentations throughout the day. Since the vendors weren’t allowed to sell during their presentations, the content was geared towards helping dealers with factual information. For example, I learned that 50% of pre-owned sales in Chicago are private party sales, 50%!?! I also learned that to improve a BDC, a dealership should bonus on sales, not appointments to ensure that qualified leads are showing up. At the end of the day, a good friend of mine stated after his presentation how challenging the questions were, we both agreed that it was a good thing that dealers are aware they need good data to make decisions! The dealers were pushing us as vendors to justify what we offered and why they needed to make a change.
In our industry, there’s yet another shift and both dealers and vendors are paying attention. The internet alone is shifting at such a fast pace that it’s critical that dealers partner with their vendors and attend conferences to get an outside perspective on retail customers and what’s working. Third-party listing sites are all competing for the retail customer, some are even going so far as to advertise on national T.V. that dealers can’t be trusted!
So I urge all dealers to call your reps, attend a conference, push your vendors to solve your problems and gather as much outside intel as you can to make decisions with your stores. The more you know….