Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty

May 9, 2017

Last Week, Josh Mitchell argued that you can, indeed, be an automotive consultant or vendor if you have never sold a car before. Chris Leslie disagrees.

If you’re solving someone else’s problem, you’re constantly stabbing in the dark. When you solve your own problem, the light comes on. ~ Jason Fried

The automotive space has no shortage of vendors, products and services all claiming to sell more cars, more often to more people. The problem though, is that the majority of these things do not add value. Instead, they add expense and frustration when they don’t work as advertised.

Many of us could easily write a book about all the terrible pitches we’ve sat through day in and day out. How about all those sales reps who come into our stores pitching technology products all while telling you how non-tech savy they are.

Out of all those pitches and webinars, the best products I’ve seen over the years, have been the ones that were created by ex dealership employees. They were fed with something that they felt compelled to fill a need that was real. It was real, because it was happening to them.

So, does a vendor and it’s reps need to have sold a car in order to consult dealers on how to sell more cars?

The short answer….


**clears throat**


We’re talking about a businesses here people.

Reputations, both internal and external, are on the line here. Which makes an uneducated vendor, running fast and loose, dangerous to an organization. Like having a child, running a dealership is hard to imagine, unless you’ve done it yourself.

Without understanding the real pain points, a vendor could never really understand what I need to sell more cars.

Word of the Day

There is a term in the startup world we like to use called Product Market Fit. The smart vendors know what this term means. They know that they’re product fits within a market that does not require other dependancies for its success.

When I think of this term I can’t help but think of Nextup ( I didn’t plan on giving them a plug, but its a perfect example.)

  • NU was created by a dude who knew there was a better way to manage the sales floor. He knew this because he was on the sales floor and had this same problem.
  • The product he created solves a problem that every dealership suffers from. It’s a very real problem. Not a designer problem.
  • NU does what it does very well and does not require any other outside dependancies to be successful.
  • The product isn’t bloated or feature rich.
  • It scales easily and has low overhead.

Products need to solve the problems of the people making them first.

Without that little bit of experience and insight, they are nothing but another mindless widget. Products and services that are created by people who have never walked a day in the shoes of the people they are selling to, are going to have a real hard time empathizing with the every day struggles we, as dealers, find ourselves having to manage.

Unfortunately, the auto industry spends a lot of money, as a whole, each year. So, I have no doubt that we will continue to see half baked products sold by incompetant people.

The sad part is, the people who are working on great products are going to have a much harder time shoving past all the garbage in an attempt to get in front of us.

Which means, more people trying to steal your time for products they don’t believe in and have no business trying to sell you.

Which is all the more reason you should feel empowered to publicly and privately call Bullshit when you see it.


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