Learn to Adapt and Use Technology in the Sales Process

Howard Leavitt

By Howard Leavitt

How do Deal­ers and Man­agers know what tech­nol­ogy will work in their deal­er­ships in today’s mar­ket? In some cases they are prompted by OEMs to adopt a spe­cific appli­ca­tion or soft­ware. The OEMs choose tech­nol­ogy not based not on the needs of the deal­ers, but to sat­isfy the OEMs needs and wants. As Deal­ers and Man­agers you must under­stand the needs of your deal­er­ship and do your due dili­gence in deter­min­ing what tech­nol­ogy works best for you.

My first encounter with sales tech­nol­ogy hap­pened in 1983 when I was the Sales Man­ager for a Jaguar Dealer in New York. We were cal­cu­lat­ing leases man­u­ally on legal pads. Each time the prospect changed the vari­ables we would have to recal­cu­late using paper and a basic hand held cal­cu­la­tor. With this archaic method, it could have been 1930!

Except for the model changes, noth­ing in fig­ur­ing the deal was any dif­fer­ent than it had been decades before. The owner at the time was not inter­ested in invest­ing in new tech­nolo­gies. He was con­tent with cal­cu­lat­ing the mul­ti­ple vari­ables within mul­ti­ple cal­cu­la­tions on paper. The strange part was he was ahead of most in adapt­ing to DMS tech­nol­ogy for account­ing, ser­vice and parts oper­a­tions.  So why not bring in those same tech­nolo­gies to the sales process?

I com­plained to the Parts Direc­tor who sug­gested Alpha Calc, which led to a crash course on how to use what was really Lotus 123.  Within a day I built a spread­sheet that gave us the abil­ity to cal­cu­late retail finance and open-end leases in sec­onds ver­sus long labo­ri­ous min­utes before. What a dynamic change in Desk­ing the deals!

We needed an advan­tage and we had it for a while. We did not win every deal but we quoted every prospect. Con­tact man­age­ment was done on paper using the NADA Sales Track Sys­tem. So now we could pro­duce quotes quickly, but with one ter­mi­nal and no way to save the cal­cu­la­tion we were back to sav­ing the quotes on paper up sheets.

That was then – and this process, which was so advanced for us at the time, now seems so archaic. Deal­ers today want more, they want it faster, and they want it bet­ter.  Keep­ing quotes and con­tact infor­ma­tion together is sim­ply the basic process of all sales appli­ca­tions. But can they digest all that is in the mar­ket place?

There are many bells and whis­tles, and they are all enticing:

  • Dynamic track­ing of prospects shop­ping patterns
  • Mobil­ity on the lot and away from the dealership
  • Regional inven­tory values
  • Response times for fol­low up
  • Val­ued report­ing of the sales staff, and so much more

Imple­ment­ing new tech­nol­ogy to enhance your sales process is cru­cial, but the trick is to select tech­nol­ogy that only aids the process, not adds to the manager’s workload.

You as the Dealer and the Sales Man­ager must decide what you need to increase sales and cus­tomer rela­tion­ships. Once that is done you can then deter­mine what tech­nol­ogy works for you and that can be man­aged effec­tively in your deal­er­ship. Find the need, then find the appli­ca­tion, then adapt and win more sales.

Howard Leav­itt is the founder of AutoRap­tor CRM.  With over 40 years of expe­ri­ence and with a strong rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most accom­plished retail man­agers on the U.S. auto­mo­tive scene, he is ded­i­cated to shar­ing his knowl­edge and lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence to help deal­ers down the path to suc­cess.  He can be reached at howard@autoraptor.com.