Canadian auto dealer met some spirited Canadians at the Digital Dealer conference in Orlando, Fla. and invited them to contribute blog posts. Here are some observations from Susan Gubasta from Mississauga Toyota who attended her first conference.
Upon our arrival and at registration, we received a copy of the sessions that were available to us. Talk about overwhelming…where do I start? We decided as a team we would all attend different sessions to get a cross section of the varied subjects from Sales, Marketing, Lead Management, Branding, Social Media, Mobile Marketing and more. That was what was available to us in just the first hour of sessions. And at the end of each day it was wonderful to have escorts as I did to discuss, share ideas and talk about what the future holds.
One of the phrases used in a few sessions I attended where it comes to understanding and embracing the digital world around us is “Change or Die.” Seems harsh, yet it speaks volumes. As our world is changing around us, so must we adapt to what our customer (called “The Boss”) expect. We must all walk in our customer’s shoes as we are consumers just like everyone else, yet it is so easy to forget that at times.
Customers aren’t looking for a controlled sale experience anymore, it is about collaboration as all the information they require is at their finger tips. They come to us knowing as much as or more about vehicles today than some of us at the dealership.
I sat in sessions that talk about Expanding your Digital Footprint, The Start or Restarting of the Most Important Department to your Stores’ Future, Internet Market Leadership Strategies and What the Formula for Success is all about. And the most engaging session I attended was Something Old, Something New…rethinking the use of Facebook,Twitter, YouTube and keeping it real. I didn’t think they were that old.
In this digital age that is evolving faster than many of us can keep up to, it has opened my eyes. Learning and understanding technology today and driving it forward to provide our customers with a world class experience who now come to us through so many different mediums is key.
If you think you know it, you probably don’t. As American dealers’ are trying to master digital lead management, just when they think they have the formula, another curve ball is thrown their way. And that is just one aspect of this digital world. As I see it, understanding and knowing that it’s around us will not grow our business.
What I have been taught in this automotive world is we are only as good as today and no 2 years are the same. So what did I learn?
The internet is here to stay…Surprise! Engage with your customers, make them your “friend” and respond when they send you an inquiry/lead. Seems simple! Perhaps not, but try it…I will!