Staying ahead of the technology curve can be an expensive proposition, particularly when new tools go unused.  - Photo by lankogal via Getty Images

Staying ahead of the technology curve can be an expensive proposition, particularly when new tools go unused.

Photo by lankogal via Getty Images

If you plan to attend the NADA convention in February, prepare to be bombarded with messages about digital retailing. It seems like every vendor now has a tool to sell a vehicle or product in the digital space.

Consider your business office as an example. There has been continuous growth and change. Not long ago, a menu was the most innovative tool to increase productivity — a paper menu at that! The continuing evolution of technology has made the paper menu nearly extinct. As an industry, we have moved on to the next generation of latest and greatest tools.

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Many dealers and F&I directors continue to chase the next best thing. This can be expensive, time-consuming, and unnecessary, particularly when you are not even using the technology you currently have to its fullest capabilities.

Before you make a change, consider the following three-step strategy to ensure your team is maximizing the functionality of the digital retailing tools you are already paying for:

1. Initial Assessment

First and foremost, you must determine the utilization level for each solution (and feature) in your current technological toolkit. Low utilization levels can indicate a lack of competency among users.

Those who are using a given tool should be using it 100% of the time. And if the tool has virtual capabilities, are these being utilized to present to every phone and internet customer?

2. Utilization Reports

The majority of digital sales and F&I tools offer utilization reporting for each function of the tool. These reports should be monitored weekly to ensure every user is utilizing each available function.

Adjust the pay plan to incentivize each user to maximize usage of the tool.

3. The 60-Day Challenge

Challenge each registered user to be proficient with the full functionality of the tool. A 60-day timeframe is typically sufficient for proficiency. Offer incentives in the form of spiffs or bonuses for those that can demonstrate aptitude with all aspects of the tool.

When the timeframe has elapsed, adjust the pay plan to incentivize each user to maximize usage of the tool.

A simple review of your team’s competency and utilization of your current tool is a good place to start when trying to decide if a change is needed. Through this review, you may find that your dealership already has the next best thing.

Mike Tamas is vice president of sales for American Financial & Automotive Services Inc.

Read: Study: Dealers and Car Buyers Want New Tech, Dealership Staff Resistant

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