Last week I was speaking to the owner of a large automobile dealership in the tri-state area who lords over a vehicular empire that moves roughly 25,000 cars a year and generates some $800 million in sales. Let me repeat that - $800 million.
At 66 years old and with a 45-year pedigree in the business that his grandfather started nearly a century ago, I asked him point blank how he stays motivated and maintains his edge over the competition – including the influx of start-ups and existing entities that allow customers to purchase cars online.
He broke it down in the most basic terms.
“In the end it’s all about relationships. People don’t have to come into a dealership anymore although we want them to keep coming. Take Amazon. They’re talking about getting into online car sales, but they haven’t said how they plan to service those vehicles. We build a trust with our customers and that’s why we have many of them for life. Online companies like Amazon and others can’t do that.”
Prior to the advent of cloud software and other remote-enabling technologies, the relationships between clients and their CPAs were not that different from that of a faithful customer and their local car dealer – or insurance salesman for that matter. When a client had a problem, he/she would pick up the phone and call their accountant and more often be granted a personal audience with them.