The adage “a friend in need is a friend indeed” certainly rings true in today’s challenging circumstances. When the going gets tough, the most resilient among us find new ways to leverage their relationships for not only surviving the tough times, but also succeeding in the long run.
Leaning into new ways of doing business during the pandemic has proven that “out of sight” doesn’t have to equate to “out of mind” when it comes to working remotely with your vendors and teams. Here are three other myths worth challenging:
Myth #1: You can’t optimize services in a downturn. Actually, many vendors have already begun using technological tools that put them a step ahead in their optimization processes. Are you sure you know all the services your vendors are providing or have the ability to provide? Are you paying for services you’re not using? The best way to answer those questions is through a vendor analysis.
Begin by asking your team to create a comprehensive list of your current vendor relationships and the technology you’re now using to leverage those relationships. Ask them to outline what’s working well and what could be working better. The result will help you create a blueprint for optimizing services and bottom-line efficiencies that has the potential for outlasting the pandemic, taking you from a “survive” to a “thrive” mindset for the future.
Challenge the myth: Take a hard look at where and how you’re currently using vendors in search of efficiencies. Circle a date on your calendar so it becomes a regular and repeatable process. Technology is ever changing. Make sure you’re staying on top of it and open to the changes that need to be made.
Myth #2: Your vendors don’t want to help you reduce costs and expenses. In the current environment, you and your vendors aren’t in the same boat – but you are in the same pandemic ocean. They want you to succeed if for no other reason than their success is tied to yours.
As the next step in your vendor analysis, let your vendors know where your pain points are, and ask them to help you solve them. By trusting them to help, you’ll be demonstrating that 1) you consider them to be part of the team; 2) you value their strategic thinking; and 3) you didn’t simply ask for concessions without giving them the opportunity to respond to your pressing needs.
Also, don’t assume you or your people already know of all the ways vendors are working to keep their own operations going. Be sure to ask them if they have recently added any services or promos that you could take advantage of.
Remember: vendor relationships may be contractual, but relationships depend upon people. Your people, and those of your vendors, creating bonds that go beyond price that enable both parties to better weather the inevitable storms to come.
Myth #3: You can’t afford the top talent you need. One of the realities of this pandemic has been the toll it’s taken on dealership personnel. From the illness itself to furloughs to layoffs and early retirements, dealerships are losing valued employees – and when they go, their knowledge goes with them.
Another reality, however, is the fundamental change the pandemic has motivated in dealership operations. While the industry was already slowly migrating to more digital services and online interactions with customers, the pandemic has highlighted the need to focus on increased virtual, rather than face-to-face, customer interactions.
Before going out to hire people for your changing dealership needs, look within. The top talent you need might already be working for you, eager for new training to help make them more valuable employees. If you do need to expand your search, start with your vendors. Chances are, they can help offset the cost of training your people or help you find eligible candidates for the vacancies you need to fill.
The bottom line: the cost of training your people may be less than you expect, while hiring new people may cost you less than those you’ve had to replace.
Working with and leveraging vendors as if they’re an extension of your team can create stronger relationships, giving you an opportunity to work smarter and more efficiently as you evolve your operations to meet the demands of today’s changing dealership world.
For more information on the topics discussed in this article, feel free to contact your Ally Account Executive, or click the button above to find the Ally Account Executive in your area.
Ally Intelligence is built on a century of automotive experience and powered by the leading digital finance innovator. With penetrating insights into your entire dealership, we help discover revenue opportunities, improve CSI and optimize operations in multiple departments of your store. It’s a platform for success designed to move you aggressively into the future of automotive retail.
Patrick Hennessey, Jr., Senior Director of Sales at Ally, has nearly 20 years of experience working in and around the retail automotive industry, with focus areas that include management, hiring, on boarding, digital marketing, personal branding, sales process training and leadership.