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Tim Hudson Chief Sales and Marketing Officer AutoProtect Group
As motor retailing moves on from the re-opening focus and into the ‘new normal’, we all need to find a new balance - sustaining our core businesses and future-proofing our business models. A critical learning point from the last year is that all businesses need to keep agile. It is an understanding that is directing the strategic thought processes across the AutoProtect Group.
With this in mind, I thought I would share five Best Practices that I hope help you to accelerate out of re-opening.
1 ‘Every Business is Digital’
Last year, Accenture's Technology Vision "every business is a digital business" raised some eyebrows. Some businesses are being challenged by technology; others are embracing it and reaping the benefits. Dealers cannot separate 'business' from 'IT'; the two are linked intrinsically. So how can you leverage technology and ensure you seek out new digital thinking positively?
2 Forget about normal/’new normal’
While being well aware of what others are doing and how the trading environment is changing, ensure you understand and leverage your unfair advantage. Every business is unique - from its heritage, experience, culture, personality, how it works, and much more. How can you leverage these differences, especially in your marketing and promotion?
3 ‘The inches we need are everywhere around us’ - Al Pacino's speech from Any Given Sunday
Committing to and sustaining a growth mindset and associated daily actions can positively affect productivity and business culture. As Al Pacino’s famous speech in the film Any Given Sunday outlines, small steps = progress. For example, send a personal letter to every customer buying a car from you since you re-opened, thanking them for their custom, seeking feedback, asking them for a review, and then keeping up the practice. It is a level of personal care that can differentiate your business. My own experience is that this 2 – 4-week delay after purchase is received extraordinarily well and can help create raving fans and address any early ownership niggles.
4 Seek out like-minded partners/collaborators
Sustaining the pace and breadth of change can be helped by like-minded collaboration for mutual benefit. Undoubtedly, products, services, and tech should be part of the mix, but how can the businesses help you and your business keep transforming? Or do they have a fixed mindset?
Across the automotive sectors and continents where I have worked, I have seen how collaboration has accelerated change, opened up new channels, increased learning/insight, and improved productivity. It is a principle to which I am very committed.
5 Take risks – ‘Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.’ - Tom Peters
Over the last year, we saw how businesses took necessary risks in adjusting their models to survive. In a much-changed marketplace innovating continuously can help us to move from surviving to thriving.
Something I picked up from a virtual NADA event;
Try everything at least two to three times. Just because it may not work the first time does not mean it cannot work at all. You need to iterate and innovate and accept that not all of your ideas will work the way you want them. But persistence does pay off, so long as you are willing to experiment your way to success.
I hope some or all of these help your business and if we can help and collaborate, it would be our pleasure.