Moving the Needle or reshuffling the deck chairs

Too often a dealership subscribes to AutoCount or CrossSell and has no idea what to do with the data contained therein.

Every dealer wants to move the needle, but by miss-reading (or not reading at all) the market share data available to them, when they think they have moved the needle, alas, they have merely reshuffled the deck chairs on their ship.

Take the case of Midway Chevrolet.  Up until May of this year, they were not the number one volume dealership (new and used) in Phoenix, but now they are.  Did they sell more cars in May than they did last November?  NO!  They actually have been selling fewer cars than they did a few months ago.  Did they increase their market share regardless?  YES!

If you are in a market that is falling and you fall less than your competition, you are the winner.  You gain the market share.

So, when someone asks ‘what additional sales did you get with this or that marketing program’?, I have to wonder if they have any background in reality at all.  There are too many factors to attribute additional sales to any particular marketing with absolute accuracy.  Your location  alone is one of the main reasons you are selling cars.  But, does your marketing result in either retained or increases in your market share?  That is the legitimate question that has a legitimate answer.  And, furthermore, was your marketing cost efficient?  Any one can spend $100,000 per month on TV ads and increase their market share a certain amount, but how long can you keep that up in a market that is actually shrinking?    This would be an example of a ‘non-efficient’ form of maintaining or growing your market share.

The same applies when a dealership attempts to move the needle with an event.  Look at the cost of the event and your position based on market share over a period of time that is long enough to see what you actually did with that event.  In most cases, the needle didn’t really move, it was just compressed into a few days at an added expense.

It’s time that this business stops being led by the nose based on the appearance of success.  True measuring over a period of time and using the available data to determine your strategy is not just an option anymore, it’s a necessity.

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About dealerite

National affiliations of professionals who are engaged in changing the culture of the automobile retail business. Key focuses currently include Compliance, Behavioral Marketing and Phone Skills.
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