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auto industry news

Winning Starts With WHY: The Critical Role of the "Why Factor" in the Auto Industry

By David Metter

Every business in existence knows what they do – or what product they offer and the associated features and benefits. Every dealership knows what they do best – which is obviously, sell cars. Successful dealerships equip their team with key players that know how to sell cars. But very few know why they sell cars, and the ones that do are empowered with this magical element I like to call the “why factor.”

What is the why factor? The why factor is a set of indestructible beliefs. It is how a business inspires to the point of eternal success. The why factor occurs when a threshold is crossed that transforms a brand into an essential lifestyle component. It is the point at which the brand itself becomes synonymous with the experience it provides.

The why factor is what makes baseball America’s pastime and not just a sport. You don’t have to be a diehard fan to enjoy a baseball game. It’s the atmosphere - the sights, the sounds, the smells, the contests - the experience the ballpark offers that makes it an exciting event for the whole family.

I’ll admit, compared to other pro sports, baseball is relatively slow-paced. But regardless, people love going to baseball games. Why? Because there is something memorable that comes to life within the stadium. The ballpark experience has become a vibrant aspect of our culture.

Apple, like baseball, has also become a part of our culture due to their unique marketing plays. The question becomes, what does Apple have that competing brands lack? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with why and ends with factor. It’s the why factor alone that has made Apple more successful than Dell. Their business model takes the traditional, “outside-in” approach and reverses it from “What-How-Why” to “Why-How-What.”

Leadership guru, author and acclaimed TED Talks speaker, Simon Sinek has created his own diagram that demonstrates the why factor, which he refers to as “The Golden Circle” shown below. Sinek says, “The inspired leaders, the inspired organizations, regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out.”

Still with me? Let’s further break down how Apple has mastered the all-powerful “why factor.”

IF (and that’s a big if) Apple communicated like everyone else, they would say what they do, how they do it and why they’re better. Then they would expect the action or behavior of people wanting to purchase their products. This is the “outside in,” commonplace approach. This tactic fails to guarantee longevity or more importantly, loyal customers.                                                 

Sinek demonstrates how Apple’s marketing messaging would sound if they were just like everyone else (outside in)…              

  1. What: “We make great computers.”
  2. How: “They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly.”
  3. “Want to buy one?”

Apple’s Actual Model (inside out):

  1. Why: “Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently.”
  2. How: “The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly.”
  3. What: “We just happen to make great computers, want to buy one?” 

The difference between these two angles of approach is in the values behind the company that define why they exist. Sinek emphasizes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Such a simple idea, but so incredibly powerful. If you don’t believe me, look at any great car salesperson vs. an average car salesperson and you will see what I mean. 

In order to stand out, you can’t just say you’re different. You have to know exactly why you’re different. The why factor must be overflowing within your inherent system of beliefs. It should dictate why you get out of bed in the morning. It is this factor that conquers competitors and challenges the current way the game is played.

It’s not about if you win or lose. It’s about WHY you play the game. Same thing applies for dealers. Whether you sell the car or not, it’s essential you deliver a ball park-inspired, grand slam experience. People who have negative dealership interactions are more likely to tell their friends about them. Positive experiences equate to satisfied, loyal customers. The article, 9 Ways Your Business is Like Baseball also emphasizes the point, “The experience your customer has with your company can make or break their overall view of you and your products. Filling the seats isn’t enough. You want those seats filled by people who are happy they came.”

For your dealership’s message to resonate, you have to simply reverse the order of the information you deliver from “What-How-Why” to “Why-How-What” – always pushing forward from the inside out – never the other way around. Dealers can go about their day (and their marketing strategy) in one of two ways: they can sell cars, OR they can inspire people. Which will you choose moving forward?  

4 Parallels of the Auto Industry and the NFL

By David Metter

The 2016 NADA conference in Las Vegas proved connections are the single most important factor of this business, and any business for that matter. To lead, you must be able to connect with a team, and from there an audience, and beyond that, the world. The focus should always be on that first fundamental building block – the team behind the vision.

Former NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning took the stage at this year’s convention and proved his understanding of business is quite on par with his athletic reputation. What he uncovered was the undeniable parallels between not only business-to-business connection, but also human-to-human connection, and how that translates into profitable success across any industry.

The leading players in automotive did not get to where they are today alone. They got there with a dream, an unbreakable team, partnerships, and connecting the right people with the right technologies. Real success is when a single great idea aligns with the individuals capable of making it a reality.

The following are four essential elements of success as they relate to both football and the car business – revealing the automotive industry may have more in common with professional sports than we ever thought possible.

1. Leadership: Whether you’re selling cars or competing for the Lombardi Trophy, risks, challenges, and losses are inevitable. It’s those companies and individuals that resurface when they fumble that show true strength. Leaders have a certain attitude that welcomes a challenge with open arms. Competition is embraced and sought after. Leaders are prepared for opposition and they manage problems with extraordinary effort. They are rarely, if ever, 100% satisfied and are in constant desire of taking an idea and making it bigger, faster, better, simpler, and more efficient. According to Manning, “Strong leaders must have the audacity to believe there is something more out there to reach for.”

The single dominating force that lives within all leaders is their ability to influence others. Leaders inspire individuals with their opinions. In any business, and really in life in general, fear is inescapable and it can paralyze a dream. However, leaders view fear as simply another challenge to overcome. Like potholes in the road, there will be obstacles that slow you down, or that may require a new tire, but they do not stop you. Manning says, “When the leader puts aside his or her fears and believes sometimes in the unimaginable, it stokes belief in others. Thinking like a team, but ultimately being able to deliver as one, raises everyone’s performance.”

Leaders in every business excel in their trades by unearthing and experimenting with new ways to compete, change, and ultimately win the game. Leaders have to be all in or all out. They must lead by example and a five-time NFL MVP winning quarterback reminds us that doing so “is not the main tool to influence others, it’s the only tool.” 

2. Teamwork: Just as a car cannot run without fuel, a leader cannot run without a team. Rather than allowing fear to get in the way, Manning recommends replacing apprehension with goals, and to “let your dreams lead you and work to cultivate that attitude in the people who work with you and for you.” To lead a team, you must be a present, active member of the team. You are not above your team and in reality you are always aware that you would not be where you are today without your team.

Honest communication with yourself and with those you work with is critical. When people work cohesively together and trust one another, magical things happen - and that applies both on the field and the showroom. “It’s about experience, taking all departments and all levels of a dealership and making communication easy for the consumers and the people that work in the dealership,” says Manning.

Like clockwork, great teamwork in business will lead to great experiences for consumers. A great experience does not end with your website, and it also doesn’t end in the showroom. It must resonate throughout your digital and traditional campaigns, your service departments, your finance departments, and your customer relationship management during the days, months, and years after a sale.

No company, no team, and no individual can advance without setting goals and implementing a unified approach to get there. Everyone needs to be on the same page for growth to occur. Team goals must be directly in line with your personal goals. There should be one vision; one path, one road and everyone involved needs to steer straight and keep their foot on the gas until that road ends, or until the goal is seized. Manning reminds us to “never underestimate the power of the team that made it possible for you to compile those results and stand apart from the best competitors in your business.”

3. Adaptability: No one has ever gotten ahead in this industry by doing things the same way forever. Like fear, change is inevitable and should be welcomed and embraced. The first rule of adaptability is a possessing a keen awareness of your strengths and weaknesses so that when change knocks on your door, you’re armed and ready. Manning notes, Being keenly aware of yourself, your team, and your competitive landscape is vital for any strong leader. When you’re taking inventory, first focus on identifying the real strengths of your team. Where are your weaknesses? Now flip that to your competition and ask the same questions.” In addition, to be adaptable requires the ability to turn inward and focus on what you as an individual can bring to the team.

Manning reminisces on his career during the 2015 season. He was faced with a new team, new coaches, new systems, and with that new obstacles. He had no choice but to adapt his leadership techniques yet again. “When the environment changes drastically around you, no one, including the leader, can take anything for granted. There is a ferocious need to communicate more clearly, concisely, and probably more often and hopefully without a middleman in the process.”

NADA chairman, Bill Fox was quoted in DealerMarketing.com recapping this year’s convention and recognizing how incredibly adaptable the auto industry has been for the last 99 years. He said, “If NADA is to be the voice of the dealer for the next 99 years, then we must recognize change, confront change and adapt to change. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

4. Endurance: The auto industry is cyclical and in constant transition. Each month is accompanied by both opportunity and unpredictability. Last year was one of the greatest and most profitable years we’ve ever seen. Today, we face a decline in growth rates in comparison to the last five years. The competition we now face is unprecedented. But let’s not forget that throughout history, dealers and manufacturers have survived wars, recessions, and bankruptcies. Endurance is something that runs deep in the veins of all who know and love the car business.

Manning emphasizes the importance of a system for a quarterback. He says, “In your business, that equates to the corporate culture and standard practices. When you’re in a system for a long time, you master that system.” Undoubtedly, endurance defines the automotive industry in the same way that it dictates the best teams and players in the NFL. This industry will remain vibrant as we always have because of this inner, indestructible tenacity.

Peyton Manning’s NADA address did more than just captivate an audience of 28,000 dealers, 700 vendors and countless automotive enthusiasts. He connected two drastically opposing billion-dollar industries in a way no one has ever recognized before – which is what being a game changer is all about. Progressive transformation doesn’t happen from running the same play over and over again. It happens when a new play is created that changes, and ultimately wins the game.

Key Partnerships Set the Stage for Innovation

Good partnerships can go a long way in the auto business. They aren't always easy to establish or maintain and sometimes they come with challenges and limitations, but when you have an opportunity to do business with another company that doesn't just use your product but has the ability to take it to new heights, that is when you want to put your options on the table. Throughout the past several months, we here at HookLogic have been busy introducing the AutoHook Web Suite to dealers and  other automotive organizations throughout the automotive space and building our own presence online and throughout. We have been implementing AutoHook onto dealer websites across the country and even started experimenting with the technology in other implementations.

During this time we have also been forging key strategic relationships with a small handful of players in our space, and this week as it turns out we have the fortune of announcing two of these new key partnerships just in time for this year's NADA conference in Las Vegas.

ActivEngage and HookLogic Partner to Provide Comprehensive Solution for Automotive Dealers

The first of these is our newly formed partnership with activEngage. Based out of Orlando, FL, activEngage is the industry's leading chat provider who as made quite a splash in our space these past couple of years. The company's track record with dealers using activEngage's chat solution on their websites is second-to-none and with the inclusion of HookLogic, activEngage and its dealers will now have the ability to benefit from HookLogic's large incentive network to qualify even more customers during the chat process and bring those people into dealership showrooms. Naturally we are excited about the possibilities here and look forward to seeing how our technology and incentive marketing stand in the online chat environment.

Dataium and HookLogic Partner to Give Dealers New Auto Shopper Insights

In addition there is the announcement about our partnership with Dataium. Based in Nashville, TN, Dataium is the industry's leading data utility company that provides critical business intelligence insight through the aggregation and analysis of consumer activity from across the Internet. HookLogic has partnered with Dataium to provide intelligence specific to our Lead to Show product.

The partnership with Dataium puts both companies on a platform to achieve something that has been virtually unattainable until now. With Dataium, dealers using HookLogic now have the ability to reach out to potential customers with precision timing that was only dreamed of before now. As a result, dealers using HookLogic's Lead to Show 3.0 product will be able to automatically re-activate old leads based on behavioral indicators demonstrated by previously identified auto shoppers.

What this Means for Dealers

While growth and success are important, so too is knowing how you got to where you are and who helped you get there. For HookLogic dealers, these new partnerships set the stage for even more innovation and in this case this innovation will be among some of the industry's leading players.

The technology behind HookLogic has been tested and proven in numerous environments, mostly outside of automotive considering that HookLogic got its start in the travel business helping online travel booking sites such as Expedia.com better monetize its online reservation system. Our experience in e-commerce will benefit our dealers and our partners by streamlining the incentive marketing process and bringing more people into our dealership showrooms to buy new vehicles.

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