What you don’t know can hurt you!
In the car business ignorance is not bliss! Not knowing and benefitting from the challenges and troubles of your brother and sister auto dealers can only lead to you repeating their foibles and paying the price. As frequent DealersEdge® Webinar contributor Steve Nickelsen says often, “You don’t know what you don’t know!”
Here are just three tidbits captured from recent Webinar presentations that every auto dealer needs to take note of immediately:
1. Dealership-provided WiFi is leaving your systems open to hackers and cyber-thieved! Erik Nachbahr’s company, Helion Technologies, works with hundreds of auto dealerships managing their DMS and other data systems. In a recent Webinar presentation in the DealersEdge® Management Education Series, Erik pointed at open customer access to dealership-provided WiFi services as a huge security threat.
While providing WiFi in your waiting areas is a very popular customer service amenity, dealers have often simply piggy-backed on their dealership’s network without concern for the security of their systems, their data and their money. It’s a small step for a hacker, professional or amateur, within range of your unsecured wireless network, to get inside and start looking around.
Professional hackers have shifted their focus from large businesses to smaller and more local companies that employ far less robust security measures. The result is a growing number of small businesses, auto dealers included, who have suffered five-figure cyber thefts perpetrated by hackers often from faraway places.
Action Point: Have someone evaluate your data system security procedures now before some hacker from the Ukraine enriches himself at your expense.
2. Auto dealers are slowly moving away from percentage of the gross pay plans! To paraphrase that Baby Boomer troubadour Bob Dylan, “Don’t ignore what you can’t understand, the times they are a-changin’.” Just about every business is being forced to come to grips with a new phenomenon in the workforce – Generation Y! This generational cohort is turning a lot of business practices and standards on their ear. Steve Nickelsen visits many dealerships in his consulting and training work. Steve noted a related trend and recently reported on a shift of pay plan focus in more and more stores.
In a recent DealersEdge® Webinar, Steve and his colleagues explored new trends in dealership compensation and how Generation Y employees are forcing fundamental changes in how pay plans are formulated.
Steve tells us that Generation Y is indeed making their “new ways” felt in car dealerships, and one of the first casualties has been the standard “percentage of the gross” pay plan. This type of reward has worked to varying degrees over the past 50 to 60 years, but is now being challenged by new hires from the Gen Y age group. This group would rather work for less money and no benefits selling computers in an Apple store and putting in the same retail hours as dealership sales consultants.
Apple has twenty candidates, mostly college grads, for every $15/hour sales opening in its stores. Isn’t that a luxury you’d like to have? Like it or not, Gen Y has told anyone who would listen that they do not like the traditional Road to the Sale negotiation/selling process. They want something different.
And before you just toss out any concern over how you pay a Gen Y employee, you should consider that in pure numbers Gen Y truly represents the future of your business. Before you ignore their preferences, understand that Gen Y will soon compose the bulk of your new customers. Gen Y customers and employees are a fact of life that many dealers are just not paying enough attention to.
Action Point: Learn more about Gen Y and their quirky ways and don’t be afraid to reformulate your pay plans to motivate this new workforce. Failure to do so could leave you at a severe disadvantage in the coming years.
3. Today’s car shoppers actually tip their hands regarding the specifics of their intention to purchase weeks in advance of the sale! Jason Ezell is president of Dataium, a data analysis company that studies the online habits of car shoppers. It may sound a little spooky, but where you go on the Internet and what you do while there is just a small slice of the data that is collected and subject to analysis.
Nearly all car buyers start the shopping process with an Internet search. In fact, vehicle shoppers will search websites multiple times before finally contacting a dealership. Every time shoppers search for vehicle information they leave a trail, like virtual bread crumbs, that can help a savvy dealership know what type of car the shopper is in the market for.
With car shoppers, expert data miners can tell you who in your area is in the market for the vehicles you sell. In addition, they can layer on additional information that can make it easier for your dealership to make the right contact and presentation to give you a leg up on the competition.
This may all sound like science fiction, but smart dealers are employing this type of data in the formulation of specific marketing plans.
Action Point: Dataium sells its analysis to automakers but makes some of the information available to retail car dealers. Visit www.dataium.com or have your internet manager do it and see what’s available to your store.
Team VADA Partners with DealersEdge to bring top-notch Management Continuing Education to the auto dealers of Virginia with on-line convenience and large TEAMVADA discounts. TEAMVADA has a negotiated partnership agreement with DealersEdge that brings weekly management education Webinar programming to Members at a 50% discount.
Well-known and respected industry experts bring a steady stream of timely management topics to dealership management teams via the Internet and directly to your work or home computers. No longer do you have to take valuable work time to travel to far-away locations to bring your team’s knowledge up to date. This program includes 45 Live Webinar presentations every year. It also maintains an Team VADA Online Learning Portal – just for Team VADA Members – that currently houses over 100 archived Webinar programs for immediate video viewing through a super-fast streaming delivery.
The three factoids above were abstracted from just three of the 100+ recorded programs available at the Team VADA Online Learning Portal.
This partnership allows Team VADA Members to purchase individual programs, as needed, for $149 each – a 50% discount! It also supports an annual subscription plan – the Team VADA VIP Season Ticket – which provides full, no-added-cost access to all Live and Recorded programming for up to 10 of your management team members.
You can browse all of the resources this unique partnership brings to your dealership by visiting http://VADA.dealersedge.com . The future of Dealership Management Education is now!