Good Partnerships are not Rocket Science: The Road to NADA

Charlie Walker

Director of Marketing
Jan 26, 2018
Good Partnerships are not rocket science The road to NADA

Last week we spoke on how adding different elements to your dealership can create varied experiences and convey a different message to your target customer. Additionally the willingness to look across OEM, dealership, and industry to get creative results can set your facility apart from the crowd. To take a look at how adding features to your dealership to better facilitate your goals, click here.


In history there have been many iconic duos; from Tom and Jerry, Batman and Robin, even peanut butter and jelly. One of these less fortuitus relationships was that of NASA and Lockheed Martin in 1999. The goal was to create an advanced research orbiter in hopes of further studying Mars, to the tune of $125 Million dollars (almost $185 million today).  While both organizations were some of the premier aerospace pioneers in the world, a base level miscommunication allowed for all that money to go drifting off into the unknown while both teams engineers scrambled to find their big project.  NASA, being an international organization of science was required to use the metric system, while Lockheed Martin a domestic privately held US company beholden to no international standard used the less popular imperial system. The conversion alone was enough send all that money drifting into deep space.

Your facility may not be dealing with actual rocket science however, ensuring that you and any potential partnership you embark on is aligned in core values, direction and a mutual understanding for the undertaking is a importance that cannot be overlooked. When our customers go through the car buying journey they now have more resources than ever to source information.  Any good buying guide recommends getting comparative pricing from multiple dealerships while auditing the way those dealerships foster new relationships. They look at how hard the salesmen push, do offers seem straightforward or misleading and is the dealership really trying to create a relationship or a quick buck.

When dealing with outside contractors or potential partnerships, we need to approach these relationships in a similar way.  Dont assume your partner understands the needs of your organization, ensure they do through questions.

Below we have put together 3 questions that can give you a good idea if an auto partnership will flop before you are ever given a project proposal.

1) How do you plan handling OEM compliance needs?

This lets you know if they have industry specific with dealerships and how well they can anticipate some of the challenges they will encounter when dealing with an auto project. With any dealership there are specific image compliance the the dealer has to adhere to; if your potential partner doesn't even know where to source an entry element, it could cost you time, money and heartache in lost time.

2) How will my project be managed?

Depending on the size of and scope of the project, you will want varying degrees of partnership intervention. For a dealership ground-up build or remodel you need someone on site to manage the project on a daily basis. Some firms will hire out project managers to a multitude of jobs just to save cost for them, however that cost is passed on to the dealership in missed deadlines and inefficient management.

3) How do you source subcontractor bids?

When looking to bring in subcontractors for work segments, general contractors usually have their own ways of sourcing. In looking at bids that come in, a project manager should not just go with the lowest cost option as they might be overlooking important details. An experienced manager can tell you if price quoted is reasonable for the industry, has included all required features to the job, if there is a need to hire union vs non union, and if subcontractors are just budget guessing for highest profit or doing a genuine assessment of project needs.

While this list is not a complete guide in finding the right partner for your dealership, it will start you on the right path. Naturally if a potential firm doesn't have answers to these baseline questions, throw them out immediately.

The value of a well aligned partnership is one that cannot be overstated. Someone who is patient and makes sure to listen to your concerns and needs, while explaining the process and logic of their decisions is vital to long term success.

Now that we have a pool of seemingly qualified candidates to work from we can begin to narrow our choices to the eventual emissary of our vision. How can we make sure we remain relevant to our customers, create a positive position in their awareness, and sustaine long term facility viability? We will explore these concepts and more next week on the road to NADA

Buckle Up.

For any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to the author, Here