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Technology no substitute for leadership in 2012

Dealers will have to rely on good leadership to pull through 2012 with new car sales predicted to fall below 1.9 million units next year.

Coachworks Consulting said that despite downbeat assessments of the new car market in 2012 from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, well led dealers that invest more time in enquiry management processes could still post “double digit” growth next year.

Automotive analysts at PwC predicted the new car market will fall below 1.9 million units next year, while Deloitte said new registrations could drop to as low as 1.8 million – compared to the 1.94 million expected by the SMMT for 2011.

Karl Davis, managing director at Coachworks, said: “There is absolutely no reason why most dealerships cannot increase new car turnover in 2012 if they accept the way they do things is flawed.

“But national demand levels next year will leave no room for dealer principals and directors to hide behind technology.

“Too often in the past they have happily forked out £100,000-plus on enquiry management IT systems without any thought to culture change, leadership and building rapport with customers.

“In this sort of climate, it’s no longer enough for leaders to invest in enquiry management technology and then wash their hands of the matter thinking they’ve done their bit.

“Enquiry management systems are no substitute for effective leadership. Technology can only accelerate the positive impact of good people and processes; it can’t overcome poor people, poor processes and poor leadership.”

Coachworks delivers business improvement programmes on behalf of manufacturers and dealer groups in the UK.

Davis said: “Transformational change can only come from the top, which is why we insist on the involvement of the most senior people in the company, from the managing director down.”

He believes that dealers need to change their attitude to potential customers making sure that anyone entering a showroom should be treated as an “honoured guest”.

Davis said: “With effective enquiry management, a different attitude to potential customers, strong leadership and more effective sales coaching, turnover from new cars, upselling and aftersales can increase significantly in 2012, regardless of the economic indicators.”

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