Article

Prove It Or Lose It!

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Maxwell D. Skynard - Also by this author

“We’re changing your pay plan, Bob.” How many times have you heard this spiel?

Chances are, if your income is Internet related, you’ve heard it more than once and yes – it sucks!

In a perfect world things like this wouldn’t happen, but right now the same gravity that pulls your money through the filters of “trickle down” economics (leaving most of it at the top) often pulls the BS straight to the bottom and into your office. Like it or not, you better have a big shovel because the burden of proof is on you to defend your department.
I know. It doesn’t make sense. But before you send me all your “I’m a victim” letters, remember this. The guys making up your pay plan are often the same guys who still type with two fingers and put W’s in front of their e-mail addresses. So if you are going to show value to Mr./Mrs. Typee-two-finger, then you are faced with the challenge of breaking the smorgasbord of technically complex operations into tiny easy-to-chew morsels. Most importantly, you have to tie these morsels to things he/she actually cares about.

For example, if you are spending 3 hours a week making sure Betty Sue enters vehicle data correctly into the DMS (something no one cares about) you’d be well advised to tie this to something important – like the fact that 23 new units hit your website before the weekend - leading to increased traffic and 2 additional sales (something everyone cares about).

Plain and simple: what you do and what others think you do are often very different things.

You and I know that a successful Internet/BDC manager is a linchpin holding many (seemingly unrelated) processes together. However, what others see is a busybody who has his hands in too many places and claims to sell 70 cars a month.

With over 80 percent of America using the Internet to find a car and approximately 22 percent of us making our dealership selections online, there is little doubt that what you are doing is valuable. However, antiquated thinking often protects the brain from such information, so I am going to give you a few tips on how to paint a rosier picture for your department.

First, be consistent with your reports – not just on a monthly basis but on a daily or weekly basis. We all know monthly reports are easy to fudge so providing accurate and consistent updates will make it more difficult to question your results when pay day rolls around.

Second, show how your efforts affect other departments. Unless you have a separate 800 number for your Internet department, chances are you are generating a great deal of business for other sections of the store (specifically used cars and finance). According to at least one major used car portal, only 9 percent of shoppers are sending e-mail leads for used cars. Most of them are calling the dealership directly or walking in.

Here’s a quick tip – On a national basis – 2004’s Internet “eyeballing” exceeded after hours trips to your dealership. Let the “Big Wigs” at your dealership see how many eyeballs are on your inventory and which units are getting click-throughs. This will usually correspond with write-ups.

Third, find a way to automate these reports so the credibility rests on the system and not on an individual. This concept is called “borrowed credibility” (for more info consult anything by Zig Ziegler) and simply means that using a third party to make you look good (in this case, a piece of software) will give you increased credibility.

Forth, don’t waist your time trying to pull all of this together yourself. There are “out of the box” solutions that can make you look like a superstar without bunching up your BVD’s (such as the new report generators from Dealerskins). If you haven’t taken a look at their new stuff, then do it!

‘Nuff said. For those of you still trying to guess your way to the top – good luck (keep my number – I need a good detail guy). For the rest of you – keep doing what you’re doing but let the rest of the dealership know about it. Otherwise, when it comes to pay day, you might just have to prove it or loose it.

Vol 2, Issue 6

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