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A dealer that I worked with early in my career had a mantra he said over and over at our Monday meetings.  I can see him now, pacing around a spotless showroom, almost yelling “inspect what you expect!” It’s a saying that’s followed me through my automotive career, staying relevant year after year, often the calling card of company leadership. Yet all too often it’s something we tell others to do and fail to do ourselves.

We should always strive to be better and it’s never too late to apply this sage advice to our work.  When it comes down to it, your career in a dealership is largely defined by what you tolerate. Tolerate poor online lead response?  You will be defined by your dealership customers as apathetic and unresponsive.  Tolerate a messy showroom?  You’ll be lumped in with 1000s of other dealerships who tolerate mediocrity. Is your slow, confusing website good enough?  On to the next dealership where a customer can actually find what they want.  The list goes on…

Let’s be honest – we can’t do it all. Our lives are busy enough to take ownership of every little detail in the dealership. As a result, we rely on software vendors, suppliers, agencies and partners to be an extension of the dealership and deliver results that represent us well.

Every vendor promises value.  Results may vary, but a partnership goes both ways and there are ways to make certain that everyone is on the same page.  Put another way, there are ways to make certain your vendors know what you expect.

Common questions to ask when reviewing your vendors:

1. How many vendors do you have?

2. What’s the latest cost per month for that vendor? Did it recently increase?

3. How satisfied is your team with each vendor?

4. Is your team engaged with the vendor? Do they log in?

5. Is the dealership supporting the vendor?  While it can be a favorite pastime to “blame the vendor”, ask yourself – What can we do as a dealership to improve our results?

We are quickly approaching the end of the summer and year’s end is not far off.  Now would be a great time to review your vendor roster to help with planning for next year.  Better to have a good understanding now of what you have now in order to help you decide what you need.

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