Change is here.

I believe only about 10% of dealers are prepared to be innovative enough to take today’s challenges on.

Are you up to the task?

 
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 “What would you do if YOU had a dealership? ”

As a brand strategist, entrepreneur, and auto industry insider, many have asked me this question. I given pieces of my answer across various platforms, but decided it was time to develop it in depth…

 
 
 
 

 
 
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This is my Automotive Manifesto.

I believe we can be BETTER.

I believe that RIGHT NOW is the BEST opportunity for dealers who are PAYING ATTENTION to ATTENTION.

I believe some dealers can climb up that hill and CLAIM IT in an AUTHENTIC way that CONNECTS.

I also believe many dealers will be EATEN ALIVE if they don’t heed the writing on the walls.

I believe the old way of selling and servicing cars is going to DOOM them.

I believe if dealers don’t CHANGE, they’ve accepted their DEATH sentence.

Finally, I believe that following the path laid out in this manifesto will make good dealers into great dealers.

 

How Do We Get There?

Dealers are a gritty breed. Men and women who don’t expect it to be easy. But even the toughest dealers can get crushed by the increasing velocity of an indiscriminate market. So how do we survive this current environment?

Better… how do we THRIVE in this current environment?

I want all dealers to thrive, but I know that over the next decade, the lion’s share of dealers — some 90% — will not. What I can say is that if you’re on this page, you’re more than likely a part of the 10% who will thrive because of the decision to pursue innovation.

YOU are the person I want by my side in the fight.
YOU are exactly who I wrote this book for. 

 
 
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A Sales Model for the People

A customer-first, click-and-mortar experience.

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Facilities Management

Experiential car buying customers LOVE.

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Thriving Professionally and Personally

Building value for those who run the show.

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Better Marketing Starts with an Identifiable Brand

Not a dealership brand. A retail brand. A brand brand.

 
 

 
 
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Sales Model 

The data is everywhere proving that customers hate buying cars from dealerships. Who can blame them?

For DECADES, we’ve introduced pressure and friction to nearly every point of the process. Requiring contact information before giving a price, reducing sales staff to the middleman of negotiations with a manager, and imposing a process that equates to hours of stress in the showroom.

Edmunds research from over 5 years ago shows customers would be more excited if the buying process was haggle-free, but here we are in 2019, FORCING customers to do business our way. It’s no wonder a customer’s trust for dealers is ranked right alongside politicians.

Why are we still debating this instead of doing what makes our customers happy? “But, it’s the car business!” I know. I’ve heard.

Sure, there are things manufacturer restrictions, but with more technology on your smartphone than most of the computers in your closing rooms, there’s less and less excuse to force a customer into a process they hate.

I’m suggestion a process which would cause my customers to WANT to interact my dealership. Want vs. dread.

How? Well… it’s in the book.

 
 
 

 
 
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Fixed Ops

So I’m sure many of you are wondering why I didn’t start with a giant, multi-million-dollar building as the foundation of my click-and-mortar operation…

Well, how many of you converted customers based off how nice your building was? And before you argue with me, I’ll let you know I’ve watched a dealer outperform Audi standards from a trailer… A nice trailer, but still trailer nonetheless. This presents a major problem for the “palace” mentality of many manufacturers.

In the digital age, our buildings are becoming just as irrelevant as our lots. Customers don’t spend hours walking lots. They spend hours shopping online. AT MOST, they are willing to visit two dealerships before buying.

You don’t need a fancy building requiring buyers to spend hours in.

There are more ways to serve your customers outside of your building than inside. And when you do, they’re less likely to dread working with you. Trust me… it’s in the book.

 
 
 

 
 
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People

Progressive sales and more convenient facilities won’t do jack if the people strategy doesn’t align with the intended customer experience.

The fact is that people do business with people they like. People who understand them. People who connect with them and have their best interests at heart. A fast-talking salesperson who functions as a glorified gatekeeper to the sales desk definitely doesn’t seem to have their best interest at heart.

Empowering a workforce who will actually interface best with customers is a key step to lowering sales process friction. Operationally, we must invest in the long-term growth of these employees. The more we spray-and-pray job postings to hopefully find the perfect person, the more we’ll face high turnover and waste thousands of dollars from understaffing and exhaust ourselves with constant churn.

Millennial employees want an environment they can thrive in. Simple steps like setting up a structure for career development while balancing a healthy personal life IS thriving to a millennial.

Prioritizing our people strategy is a key piece of fixing our industry. How you ask? It’s a simple answer. And it’s in the book.

 
 
 

 
 
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A Brand Brand

I think we can all admit that auto dealers don’t have the most progressive reputation in the advertising world. Many modern day dealerships spots look very similar to some of the first dealership ads. Then social media came around, so we took our billboards and put smaller versions of them on the internet and called it advertising.

When it didn’t work, we blamed the internet, not our poor execution.

It might hurt to hear, but dealers are either misinformed or willfully ignorant. 69% of dealers believe they have a customer’s trust, but only 9% of consumers agree. Cox Automotive surveyed customers about their emotional energy through each step of the buying process and guess what? Car buying stresses people out at every step of the process. Every. Step.

So again, why are we pretending everything’s ok?

People felt friction at Blockbuster, so Netflix solved it. People felt cheated at Toys R Us, so they went to Amazon. People feel uncomfortable in a showroom, so companies like Carvana capitalize on answering those fears.

This is the CLARITY. There is something EVERY DEALER CAN DO TODAY to begin solving this friction.

How can you stop losing customers to more convenient, more friendly, more agile competitors? The answer lies in one phrase: BRAND CONNECTION.

Your brand is not your logo. Your brand is not your name. Your brand is not the particular shade of blue that you use to write the price of your cheapest car on every piece of marketing you put out.

Your brand is how a customer feels when they hear your name, see your logo, or consume a piece of your marketing.

It is NOT the car business. It will serve you well to stop thinking about it that way. Instead, realize: It’s the retail business. It’s the customer experience business. It’s give the customer what they want, how they want it, or go out of business… business.

In this new “connection economy” those who win are those who prioritize CONNECTION.

This is the road forward. This is how your dealership wins. This is where my book and my agency are ready to help.

 
 
 

 
 
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Join The Fight

If any of this resonates with you, I’d be honored if you’d sign your name to The Automotive Manifesto. I’m in the process of putting together something to keep like-minded individuals moving forward together and those who sign will be among the first, possibly only, ones notified.

 
 

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