The automotive industry, while very complex and diverse, has one unified major flaw. This flaw can directly affect every dealership in the country. It may or may not have a detrimental effect on the store’s performance, as well as the reach and sustainability of the dealership itself. What is this massive issue? It’s simple; Vendor Herd Mentality. To clarify, Herd Mentality simply describes how individuals are influenced by others to adopt certain behaviors, in this case to do with the decision making of dealership third-party vendors. The decisions that dealerships make given this mentality may have a long-lasting affect on the dealership, positive and/or negative. Looking at this sociological condition, and how it affects everyone in the dealership industry, may help some take a more direct approach to the success of their dealership using an alternative viewpoint.
First, let’s clarify how Herd Mentality works within the automotive industry. Look at the dealerships website provider, CRM provider, email marketing vendor, etc., and look at how you got to them in the end. As is the case with most of us, it probably started with a referral of some kind, or, as with almost ALL of us, it began with name recognition. Looking at this deeper than many normally do, are you making the correct decisions for the dealerships’ success by moving forward with companies simply because of name recognition and/or referrals from other dealers? No. It may sound argumentative, but it’s true. Whether or not a dealership ends up with a vendor who is name recognizable, or because of a referral, should be based ENTIRELY on that specific dealership, and not a preconceived notion. As with snowflakes, no dealership is alike. Geographical locations, income levels, and other influences affect every dealerships success. Yet, because every dealership isn’t alike, every dealership must avoid the peer pressure of choosing vendors based on anything BUT the fit that vendor has within their specific dealership. Millions of dollars are spent every year to try and find the right vendor for each of the dealerships’ needs. However, what would that same dealership look like if it had done the research for the RIGHT company rather than the recognizable named vendor or the preferred vendor.
In that research, there are large obstacles to avoid and/or look for in this search for the perfect vendor:
- Vendor Product Updates– A dealership is ever-changing, and it’s vendors must also have that same ability. Avoiding vendors that are too large to change is a must. Product updates are a key essential in this ongoing market, and if a vendor is too large to update systems and products as the market changes, walk away now.
- Personal Customer Service– No matter what vendor a dealership is using, it must provide award winning customer service. The daily happenings inside the dealership do not allow for a negative or slow customer service experience, no matter what product the dealership is using from whatever vendor. In addition to this, if available, having customer service representatives that are specifically assigned to a dealership will make any issues that arise much simpler to solve.
- New Features/Tools– This may be the most important, because the marketing tools that a dealership uses, if not current within that year/month/day, WILL NOT succeed. This is not meaning an updated product, as listed above, this is to do with the newest and most advanced methods of the product itself, not just a vendor trying to adapt to change and failing rapidly; Essentially its Creation vs. Adaptation. With the industry of vendors so vast, it’s the thought leaders in each field that should be giving first reign, because without using these types of vendors, you’re just using a copycat.
Keeping a watchful eye out for these necessities in an automotive vendor, and the obstacles in the way of the dealerships’ success pertaining to these vendors, will make both an instant AND long-lasting impact on the sustainability of that dealership. All of this is not necessarily saying that the companies that have name recognition or companies that are referred aren’t going to be the right fit, it’s simply implying that all dealerships must do the research for themselves to find out what company(s) fits best to work alongside YOUR store. Not another dealership.
Author: Aubrey Hankins
Aubrey Hankins serves as Social Media Marketing Director for CRMSuite, a software company providing dealerships with industry leading, technologically advanced CRM Software. With almost 10 years of marketing and social media experience, he brings a wealth of informative automotive discussion and debate, all in order to help dealers sell more cars.