“I’m old school.” Three simple words that are the bane of my training existence. While I love the challenge of connecting with “old school” guys, getting them to embrace the CRM culture can be frustrating. Is someone who prefers riding a horse over driving a car old school? What about using an abacus instead of a calculator – “Yea man I’m old school.”
OK – suit yourself
When trying to communicate the value and merits of a CRM system to an “old school” guy, the challenges are numerous. For many old-schoolers, the first hurdle is getting past their pride. If they’ve been selling cars for awhile then they’re probably doing well financially. Their client base is large enough to generate passive income which can occasionally lead to a delusional sense of pride; or if combined with a steady work-ethic, a merited sense of pride. But the hurdle is the same.
- “I’m already successful – I don’t need this.”
- “If it aint broke, why fix it.”
- “Who is this poor, young punk trying to tell me how to do my job?!”
OK so I made that last one up, but I’m an expert at face reading! The way to reach these guys is not to eliminate their pride, but cater to it. Show them how the CRM, through it’s organizational properties alone, can help them make more money! In the words of Gordon Gecko, “Greed is good!” I recently showed an old-timer how the CRM would remind him of his equity calls, of his customer Birthday’s, purchase anniversaries and how he could use our DealMagic marketing tool to mine his database for any customer niche he wanted to reach out to. Everything he already did by hand, only better and faster! His response was mute, but he didn’t complain anymore.
The second hurdle is getting them to embrace the insecurity of change. Not change in and of itself, but the anxiety associated with the unknown, of being a beginner at something- the growing pains. For many old-timers, the CRM appears too techy, too complicated, and they give up on it the first time they experience frustration. The key to plowing through this hurdle is to communicate the CRM in a familiar way and show them that the CRM is not fundamentally different in process to what they currently do.
I recently trained a gentleman who made it known that he did not want to be trained. He had his black book and stack of papers and was comfortable with his process. I walked him through how to add a customer and work his Myday. The whole time he would add notes in his black book and fumble through his customer worksheets. But as the session continued, he started asking more questions and I could see his attitude shift from refusal to curiosity. The breaking point came when I had him go through his process, and then mirror that process in the CRM. It was immediately apparent to him that although his process was comfortable, it was slower and not as prolific as what the CRM could achieve. “It’s like an organizer, yea, I just need to play with it and get used to it” he told me.
Nobody likes change, but when training something new, it’s important to find those hot-buttons and make the unfamiliar familiar, the uncomfortable comfortable and get them to understand that – it’s designed to make your life easier, not make your life more difficult. Training old-timers can be more challenging, but the rewards to the dealership is often more rewarding for those willing to combine their old-school experience, with new school technology.