The Best of Shop Talk: Even The Right Software Might Not Make A Difference

The powersports industry is predicting more financing in 2019 than they’ve done in a while. In theory, that should mean more unit sales and more profits.

This article was originally published in March 2019.

The powersports industry is predicting more financing than they’ve done in a while. In theory, that should mean more unit sales and more profits. But, and there’s a big but, which software? What is the cost and how do I guarantee results? There is an answer, but it will always have multiple parts.

Let’s address the cost first. Even though it shouldn’t be a priority, there are costs associated with software that go beyond price. Having the right software does not in and of itself make you compliant, but it could if you have all the facets in place. Having the best software doesn’t necessarily make you more money, but it could, if you back up your investment with a process to use the software. As is nearly everything in life, you get what you pay for.

So, if your decision to buy or keep the software you have is because it only costs you $100 a month, stop reading. This article will be of little use to you. If an agency has given you a “free” menu but you’re still working deals the way you did in 1996, you can also stop reading unless your palms are sweaty worrying about the compliance police. As my grandfather used to say, “Nothing is free in this life.”

For the sake of filling the rest of this space with some value, let’s assume that you are willing to consider investing in high quality software. Now, that may not always mean expensive. The best way to know if you’re getting value for your money is to work backwards. First, determine the outcome you want. What is it you want this software to do? Does it do it to your level of satisfaction? Then and only then should you look at price.

You’ve selected your software, breathed a sigh of relief and now you can go about the rest of your day trying to make some sales. Which button do you push to make profits? What screen shows where the extra money comes from? Do you just print checks to cash? Obviously not. Then what is the point?

If you took a hammer, the best hammer money can buy, and tossed it on a pile of wood and expect to see a new house built when you come back, people might think you’re a bit crazy. It’s no different with any tool. Software is a tool that needs a solid process behind it before you can enjoy the results you are entitled to.

For software to even come close to reaching maximum performance and value, you need three important ingredients. First, the right people. By this, I mean your team must be 100 percent committed to the new software or it will never work. Second, you need to have the right software. It’s important that you decide what you need the software to do rather than the software company telling you what you must change so the software works. Finally, you need the right process. This is the hardest part. Your people must know what to do with the software to achieve the purpose you wanted when you signed the agreement for the software in the first place.

With all these elements in place, you can now monitor and manage your real expectations. Is it actually taking less time to finance a deal than before? Are customers really happier with their total experience? AM I MAKING MORE MONEY?

“Last in first out” may not be the solution. What this means is, if any of the above questions results in an answer that is not what you expect, you don’t toss software automatically. While it may very well be that the software is an issue, be absolutely sure before you make a move. Remember, there are three ingredients to this recipe: the right tools (software), the right people and the right process.

Compare your people. Is one or more of your team actually improving since the install? If so, the software and the process works and your issue is with some of your team. Compare your customers. If overall they are happy, then the people are probably using the right process and maybe the software installed wasn’t the choice you should have made.

Regardless of the size of your business, there is a software package that can increase productivity, profitability and accountability. Finding it is the key. Once you find the right software and see it working in your store, inspecting your people and the process becomes simpler and adjustments can be better inserted. It’s your business. The people, the tools and the process should follow your desired results. 

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