Will you be the Champion in 2013?


By Howard Leavitt

“In a broad­er sense, near­ly any sort of com­pe­ti­tion can be con­sid­ered a cham­pi­onship, and the vic­tor of it a cham­pi­on.”

In the auto­mo­bile indus­try, you as a deal­er are a com­peti­tor and want to win every deal. We all look for ways that we have the advan­tage in win­ning each deal; ulti­mate­ly the cham­pi­on has the edge. As you reflect on this year and fore­cast for next, think about your role as a cham­pi­on with­in your deal­er­ship.

What bet­ter time than now to embrace the idea of being a cham­pi­on. Lay­ing out our fore­casts and wish­es by them­selves will not be enough to make them come true. As a deal­er and man­ag­er you will need to under­stand a champion’s role and respon­si­bil­i­ties. While you are look­ing at the charts, reports and num­bers for the clos­ing year and look­ing ahead at fore­casts for 2013, remem­ber this: num­ber goals have no mean­ing with­out some­one to mea­sure, dri­ve the process and lead. For every goal you hope to achieve, you need a cham­pi­on to help get you there.

• What exact­ly do I mean by a cham­pi­on in the deal­er­ship? What I am talk­ing about is “some­one who fights or speaks pub­licly in sup­port of a per­son, belief, cause, etc.” A cham­pi­on in the deal­er­ship will car­ry the flag for the rest of the staff, whether it’s in imple­ment­ing new process­es or appli­ca­tions, or just men­tor­ing the staff to reach their sales goals.

• In so many deal­er­ships, the role of a cham­pi­on is crit­i­cal when it comes to imple­ment­ing a CRM appli­ca­tion and enforc­ing its effec­tive use. The use of CRM tech­nolo­gies and cham­pi­oning that process seems so clear as a cause for action. The accep­tance of data man­age­ment tech­nol­o­gy does not mean you are cham­pi­oning its use. Being a cham­pi­on for a CRM process takes some courage, because not every­one can read­i­ly appre­ci­ate its ben­e­fit. It is easy to see the rela­tion­ship between ser­vices that pro­vide cur­rent auc­tion val­ues or Inter­net leads and how that infor­ma­tion can result in a sale.

• The biggest chal­lenge faced by those cham­pi­oning a CRM is edu­cat­ing the deal­er that data col­lec­tion com­bined with struc­tured fol­low up will increase sales and cus­tomer reten­tion. The cham­pi­on must over­come objec­tions and real­ly want to change the deal­er­ship cul­ture so that the staff will see the val­ue and ben­e­fits of using a CRM. Once they see the results, those who may have pre­vi­ous­ly object­ed will become cham­pi­ons them­selves.

• Being at the top gets you the best peo­ple who are attract­ed by income and the atmos­phere that suc­cess brings. It brings you a pres­ence in the mar­ket place that sets the stan­dards for excel­lence. Peo­ple want to work for win­ners and they want to be win­ners. I made my sales man­ag­er a cham­pi­on and he made his staff cham­pi­ons.

You want all your staff to be Cham­pi­ons in what­ev­er job respon­si­bil­i­ty they have. It starts at the top, so set the exam­ple and the rest will fol­low. It is amaz­ing how it hap­pens when you lead. As we look ahead to the begin­ning of 2013, be pre­pared to not only set your goals, but pre­pare to meet and exceed your goals by becom­ing a cham­pi­on for suc­cess in your deal­er­ship.

Howard Leav­itt is pres­i­dent of AutoRap­tor CRM and can be reached at howard@autoraptor.com.



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