Reconditioning from a Dealer’s Perspective


This article was written by one of our valuable ReconTRAC® clients after he read our last article on embracing technology to improve – we hope you enjoy his perspective!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one—from dealerships, top management, or even your own mouth:

“You don’t understand: We’re not like other dealers.” Think about this: If you had a dollar for every time someone tried to sell you something based on the idea that they’re different, you’d be kicking back on a white sand beach right now with a piña colada in hand. We’ve all heard it, and we all know how to tune it out.

So why do dealers keep saying it?

As a service director at a large dealer group, I’ve worked with plenty of dealerships. At every single one, I’ve heard at least one person say: “We’re different. Our manufacturer is different, our customers are different, and that’s why this system won’t work.”

That’s three dollars right there. Pay up, guys.

We all want to believe our own challenges are different, but when you take a step back and look, car dealers haven’t changed all that much since the Model T (there are more colors now, though).

Step one: car breaks. Step two: customer comes to us. Step three: we fix it.

So what really makes us different? If you’re looking for the secret, it’s everything that happens in between.

The way dealers have a chance to stand out is by providing value for customers’ time through efficient, productive service. I’m no fortune teller, but I’m willing to bet the customer who just walked through your door wants two things: fair service and a reasonable price.

Dealers who get this are the most successful because they focus their time on what matters most. They understand the technical solutions that provide consistency and efficiency in their business. They get involved with the process and learn how every step should work, and then make it happen by focusing on the outcomes employees and customers want.

They have the energy to do that because they’re laser-focused on outcomes people want.

That doesn’t stop at the customer; it also extends to your entire team. The best leaders – the ones people want to work for – lead from the front. They use positive encouragement, evangelize their vision and show respect for everyone. People do their best when they feel that accomplishment.

Software alone doesn’t do it for you: it’s all in the people and how they use it.

If you apply a system like ReconTRAC correctly, you will create value for both your business and your customer. They’ll come back to you even if they don’t really understand what’s going on behind the scenes.

But if you don’t have the processes, teamwork, and energy, ReconTRAC is no more useful than Excel. I use Excel every single day, and so do my stores, but if I don’t require my team to send me their Excel reports every day, and I don’t look at them and get involved with impacting those numbers, the Excel reports lose their value quickly.

It’s not the report, but the ability to analyze and follow through that makes the difference.

Technology is growing fast, but technology is just a means, not an end. It collects all the data necessary so you can do your best work. You plan, communicate, and monitor the changes until it becomes a habit.

So, what’s the deal with ReconTRAC?

Bottom line: it’s a great used car reconditioning program our departments trust to provide consistency and visibility. It helps manage the process you expect to happen, so you can ask the right questions and put your finger on the right vehicle at the right time.