By Yago Paramo, Dealer eProcess (DEP) West Partner
It’s that time of the month when dealers gather their senior management and go line-by-line over the doc sheet. Every manager is concerned about what the outcome may be. Did they make the wrong decision? Does the dealer think that they did?
The conversation typically goes like this: The dealer goes, how much did we spend on X? How many sales (or profit) resulted? Next, the dealer makes decisions on keeping or cutting that solution provider from the budget.
It’s how many dealers judge things. I get it, But it’s not a fair assessment of the performance of vendors. Many dealers have a TON of vendors doing all sorts of things on their websites. Every vendor will provide a report essentially saying we did a good job.
Not all dealers will read through, analyze, or even be willing to adjust. It’s all about this vendor right now. And those vendors (and reports) could be numerous between every shiny object they signed up for.
Standing Too Close
There is an old analogy about standing too close to the elephant. If you stand too close, all you see is a big, grey scaly wall. There is no way over it, under it, or around it. You don’t even understand what you’re looking at. If you were to step back a yard or so, you would see reality and the big picture. It is, in fact, an elephant.
Technology solutions are not comprehensively combined into a singular vision by many dealers. They’re simply judged one by one. Neither the dealer (nor even senior managers) step back from the elephant to see the big picture or all of the ways solutions interact to produce traffic, leads, and sales.
One manager may say a solution is working great despite the numbers on the doc sheet. Another may disagree. There is a plethora of personnel involved in these decisions to keep or cut a vendor. My question would be to them: Did anyone step back and see the elephant?
And therein lies the problem. Not many dealers ever do. Is it their fault? For the most part, no. Their providers (which could be 10+) are giving them information, but they don’t have a way to connect the dots and comprehend how all of them work together. I’m not, in any way, saying that solution providers aren’t doing a good job for their clients. There is a difference, however, between doing a good job and convincing a dealer that is only looking at line items and not the big picture that they are.
If you know me, you know that I’m an avid runner, and I push myself into physical competitions all the time and all over the world. The one thing I can guarantee you is that I’m always looking at the big picture – whether climbing the highest mountains, running for miles on end, or even running through fire. I could NEVER have been where I am today – personally or professionally – without looking at the big picture, aka the elephant.
Whether in personal or business life, a dealer can never excel without not only the willingness to step back and look at the big picture but then also commit to themselves that they will see it, adjust, and conquer. The elephant is only an obstacle. When dealers step back and see the elephant, they will know the right way to proceed. Sometimes, they need some help and, other times, seeing the elephant is all they need.