Dealers Shouldn’t Fear Technology
(This is the first in a series of articles on change in the used-car industry.)
Do you know any dealers who still carry around a used-car and truck pricing guide in their pocket?
“A 2009 Honda Accord Coupe? Yeah, I got that right here.” (Flips through his guide.) “It’s … no, wait a minute …. Okay, it’s …. No, that’s not it. Wait a minute, it’s in my other book.”
Meanwhile, a colleague has pulled out his smartphone, scanned a VIN, and pulled up the price in seconds.
Technology has vastly improved the way dealerships operate, yet some are still reluctant to embrace it. Why is this? Following are some potential reasons.
- Habit – Longtime employees are just used to doing things a certain way, even if it may take longer.
- Lack of comfort – New technologies can be intimidating to some. A new software program might have 100 different functions, even if realistically the individual will only use a few of them.
- Lack of control – Many people are still afraid that they could lose data and important information if their computer crashes or the system is hacked.
- Aversion to new things – Some people are more comfortable after a new technology has been around for a while, and the bugs have been discovered and ironed out.
- Fear of never keeping up – Just when they’ve gotten comfortable with technology, something newer comes along, forcing them to adapt or fall behind. Think of how many versions of Microsoft Windows we’ve seen in the past few years: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc. It’s enough to make some people want to throw in the towel.
- Fear of losing an edge – Dealers may have their own proprietary systems, programs and processes that they think are better than the competitors’. They might think what they have is better than what’s commercially available to all dealers.
The auto industry has a rich history, with many dealerships that have operated successfully for decades. For some, there is a sense of “we’ve always done it this way” or “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, technology is not going to pause for the holdouts. It’s going to march forward and either lift them to new heights, or leave them behind.
Here are just some of the ways technology can help dealers be more efficient, earn more profits, and save time and money.
- – E-commerce has radically changed the way people shop for cars. Having an inviting and up-to-date website can pre-sell a used vehicle for you.
- – Robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools make it easier than ever to track interactions with prospects and clients, and to trigger reminders and campaigns.
- – Inventory-management tools can give you real-time inventory data and automatically export it to your website and to classified sites. Say goodbye to manual entry.
- – Logistics companies make it easy for you to track the progress of vehicle shipments to your location, so you know when to expect it.
- – VIN scanners can book out NADA, KBB, MMR, Black Book, CARFAX and Autocheck simultaneously, saving you valuable time.
- – Photo-management tools can help you take great pictures of your vehicles, properly label them, and upload them automatically through the cloud.
Our message to dealers is simple: “Technology is here to make your lives easier, not more complicated.”
If your dealership has managers and employees who are still averse to adapting to new technology, here are a few things you can do to help them.
- Have a meeting and address their concerns face-to-face rather than through email.
- List the pros and cons of the new tech vs. existing systems.
- Run through some sample features of the new technology to show how easy it is.
- Show them projections of how much time and money the new technology can save.
- Offer training from the vendor or from an employee already using the new technology.
Easing employees’ fears will go a long way toward getting them to accept and perhaps even embrace new technology.
In our next blog article, we’ll explore why dealers shouldn’t fear new ways of sourcing vehicles.