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Break the Traditional Mold at Your Dealership

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Ryan Estis on how to break out of a traditional model.

Ask Ryan Estis, who spoke at the 2018 NADA Show, what the most important minute of the conference was and he’s quick to say it wasn’t anything that happened during the actual event:

“It’s what happens at 8:01 tomorrow.”

What Estis, founder of Ryan Estis & Associates, means by that is that if attendees don’t take what they’ve learned and commit to very specific, actionable and immediate moves, everything they learned was a waste.

Estis, whose clients include AT&T, Motorola, MasterCard and Adobe, says that leaders who are looking to make a change need to have a “take action now” approach.

“You need to gather your team around you and say, ‘These are the three changes we’re making right now,’” Estis says. “Action is required. You’ll make mistakes, but you have to be willing to take an intelligent risk.”

 And taking that risk requires breaking the mold. The old formula for doing things won’t cut it anymore.

“A big part of today’s leadership is to lead through change and transformation,” Estis says.

According to Estis, dealerships have followed a model formula for years. Ten years ago, it was all about going by the book—but that traditional model will no longer be enough. With the rate of technological advancements and consumers being used to having whatever they want immediately, all industries need to adapt or they’ll go extinct.

Uber. Airbnb. Netflix. These are all examples of companies that have turned the industries that they were a part of upside down. Real leaders will find a way to lead their business into the future.

“Now is the moment to take action and reinvent yourself,” Estis says. “When the marketplace changes, your leadership approach needs to change.”

There are a number of examples of this, Estis says. Ford is reinventing the buying process and basically everything can be done online now. BMW is putting customer service masters, or “geniuses,” on its showroom floor. One that Estis takes advantage of in his own life is Cadillac’s subscription model.

“For $1,800 per year, I can drive a fleet of Cadillacs,” he says. “If I’m going to the beach and I want a convertible [I can switch cars]. That’s disruptive.”

Estis says that the time is now for people to stop relying on things that have worked in the past. Leadership roles in fixed ops have changed from being task oriented to requiring more creativity, invention, innovation and flexibility. The world is changing and so is the expectation of customers and employees.

“Look at the tech forces that are going to fundamentally reshape the industry,” Estis says. “It’s happening right now and as leaders, we need to be able to respond.”

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