Rapid changes create both risk and opportunity. Your dealership is impacted by big changes in technology, the workforce and higher expectations of your customers, employees and suppliers.

The risk for your dealership is that if you don’t see and adapt to the changes, then the future of your business could be in question.

The opportunity is to build a sustainable future for your business amid rapid change. As a leader, step away from working ‘in the business’ and work ‘on the business.’ Strive to create the necessary changes in culture, people, processes and measures necessary to secure a sustainable business in the future.

Building a 2nd Machine Age dealership is not an opportunity. It is an imperative. It must be done! If you don’t react, then your business may be toast.

Thus, my Leadership Lesson challenge to you in 2022 is to ‘Build a 2nd Machine Age’ or SMA dealership.  

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What is a 2nd Machine Age Dealership?

We presented the foundations for a SMA dealership in this Leadership Lessons series: 

  • The Good to Great Flywheel elements – our 2020 theme, and
  • Creating a Customer Centric Culture/CCCC – the 2021 theme.  

Specific articles pointed out the way to a SMA dealership.

  • “Leveraging Technology” (G2G June 2020), and
  • “The Customer Centric Dealership of 2030” (CCCC July 2021).

And in 2014, two ‘Technology for Profit’ articles are relevant.

  • Are You Ready for the 2nd Machine Age? (April 2014)
    – We are now in the 2nd half of the chessboard and experiencing the implications of exponential change.
  • Using Technology to Connect & Collaborate (Jan 2014)
    – 5 characteristics were described

We’ll expand our thinking into how a SMA dealership must be: 

  • Connected — to customers, employees and machines
  • Collaborative — with customers, suppliers and other services of your customers
  • Changing — the 2nd Machine Age is all about change.

What Changes Should be Considered for a SMA Dealership?

Among the changes to consider are how your business is organized, how success is measured, what new processes to use and the different roles for your employees.  

For example, instead of having a separate precision farming or Integrated Solution department, the whole of an SMA Customer-Centric dealership will organized around: 

  • Customer Support
  • Customer Success and
  • Customer Solutions

New metrics could be speed of response measured in seconds or minutes, not hours or days.  New processes could include the management of data inside your dealership and among customers, suppliers and others. This might create the need for new positions and roles of the people you hire and deploy.

In 2022, look for articles that explain each of these elements in more detail. Meanwhile, start today to begin building a 2nd Machine Age dealership. With the pace of change, if you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind.

2020 Theme: Growing from Good to Great

  • Growing From Good to Great (G2G) – The Sustainable Dealership Flywheel (Dec 2019) — What makes a dealership good? And what does it take to move a dealership from good to great? How do you leverage your leadership?
  • Spoke #1, Leveraging the New to Used Cascade (Jan 2020) — What is the New to Used Cascade and why is it important as the first spoke to describe in the Good to Great Dealership Flywheel? 
  • Spoke #2 Invest to Grow: High Absorption (Feb 2020) - Absorption is simple to calculate, but it contributes to two top goals for a dealership — High return on assets and creating repeat customers. 
  • Spoke #3/1 - Culture & Processes (Mar 2020) — “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” The best plans fail without a strong culture to support them. Key processes are part of a culture of performance.
  • Spoke #3/2 — Performance Culture: Be the Employer of Choice (June 2020) — The best dealerships attract and keep the best people. 
  • Spoke #4 - Balanced Dealership that Sells Solutions and Earns Trust (Sept 2020) — How your entire dealership hears and serves the customer is at the core of a balanced dealership whose people are trusted to deliver and serve customers consistently.
  • Spoke #5 — Robust Marketing Process (Oct 2020) —Build your dealership brand with all segments by employing a robust marketing process. 
  • G2G Flywheel — Leveraging Technology (June 2020) - Technology is a “Force Multiplier” for your dealership.

2021 Theme: Creating a Customer Centric Culture

  • Creating a Customer Centered Culture- — Lesson #1: Repeat Customers is the Objective (Dec 2020)
  • Focus on Satisfied Customers, Not Customer Satisfaction (Jan 2021)
  • Defining Customer Retention -— Turn a Concept into Reality (March 2021)
  • Catch & Release or Catch & Keep (April 2021) Changing from conquest sales to a focus on keeping the customers you have. Retained customers are the most profitable.
  • Customer Service Process — Creating the Right Culture & Attitudes (May 2021)
  • How Will Your People Take Care of Your Customer? It’s T.E.A.M. (Work) (Aug 2021) — The skills and knowledge your front-line employees.
  • Stay Customer Centered as Generations Change
    (Oct 2021) 
  • The Customer-Centric Dealership of 2030? (July 2021)