If you’re in the auto industry and not currently living under a rock, then I’m sure that you’ve heard about the Car Gurus controversy by now.
Either you read about it online.
You heard about it from a friend that was affected by it.
Or, you have been affected by it.
Dealers everywhere feel as if they have been lied and cheated, but why is this so surprising? A quick and simple test-run of the sales process would have found this issue. A quick click would have shown dealers everywhere just what Car Gurus was really doing with their customers.
But I’m not here to point fun at those who have lost money as the direct result of immoral business antics.
I’m really not even here to bash Car Gurus.
Time will repay them for their actions. I’m not their judge nor their executioner. They made a decision. They are now being affected by it. Bad business leads to bad results, every single time.
Instead of bashing and criticizing, I have come to ask one question:
What have we learned from this incident?
If the answer is nothing, then we’re in trouble.
Why are we not taking the necessary precautions to fact-check vendors and ensure that they are doing what they say they are going to do? Why don’t General Managers take the time each month to go over the vendors and decide then whether or not to continue partnering with them?
This is coming from a vendor, by the way.
My parent company has served the automotive industry for over twenty-five years, and that isn’t a plug. To be frank, I don’t care who you decide to work with. But understand that IF you are going to spend thousands of dollars each month with a company, that you should at least know how it will affect your store. You should at least test it out from the perspective of a possible customer and see just how well the process flows. Like it or not, Car Gurus had become a staple in our industry. Whether you loved them or already hated them, you probably didn’t expect them to do something like they did.
But they did it.
Car Gurus would have been caught long ago if we had just a few people who were willing to take the time to go through the process as if they were a customer.
Yet it is only through pain and attrition do people seem to learn.
There is a better way! There are manners and methods that can be taken to minimize the impact beforehand. Why wait until it’s too late to try to fix things? Instead of taking their word for it, look for yourself!
And that’s for ANY vendor you come across. The only vendors who don’t want you to actively investigate their processes are vendors who have something to hide. Investigate. Ask questions. Be involved. Regardless of how busy you are, this is crucial.
Otherwise we’re just running in a vicious circle.
There are hundreds of companies who have the same mindset as Car Gurus. It is up to you and you only to ensure that your dollars are going to where they will be most effective.
Dealers: don’t take vendors at face value. Check, check and recheck.
Vendors: When you screw over your own customers it will eventually come to light.
And then, you’ll be sitting in the dark.