July '20

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124 • RV PRO • July 2020 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T Time to Jump on the Technology Train! Now more than ever, it's important for dealerships to implement technologies that can significantly improve business processes, increase revenue opportunities, accelerate consumer buying decisions and increase bottom-line profits. P lease don't let technology pass you – and your dealership – by once again. If the current pandemic has taught us anything, let it be that we have witnessed the impact of technology on every aspect of our lives. The headline on this article may seem a bit cynical, so let me explain the source of my frustration. It comes from the real world and the reluctance of many in our industry to implement various technologies that can significantly improve business processes, increase revenue opportunities, accelerate consumer buying decisions, and most importantly, increase your bottom- line profits. Let's jump in the time capsule and go back to 1996. Ready? That was the year that I penned my first story as a cub reporter for the original RV News Magazine, under the direction of Dan Holt and Don Magary – both since inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. I had been a frequent contributor on their RV America Online, the industry's first web- site totally dedicated to the RV enthusiasts. Don got in touch with me one day and asked me to write for the magazine. Although I had extensive writing experi- ence in the document imaging industry, and although I had already been an active RVer for more than 20 years, I did not think it was appropriate to be telling people in the RV industry how to run their companies. Magary wouldn't give up, though, and we finally agreed that I would write an article that dealt with various docu- ment imaging technologies that would do exactly what I said above: significantly improve business processes, increase revenue opportunities, accelerate consumer buying decisions and most importantly, increase your bottom-line profits. At the time, it was one of the best-read articles in the magazine. So, what is my point here? Well, that was 24 years ago. Here we are in 2020 and many companies in our industry have yet to incor- porate these technologies into their business strategy. The technologies have improved, as have the benefits you can derive from imple- menting them across the enterprise. Don't Forget Hard Lessons Learned I think we can all agree that our industry is quick to forget the dips in the economy that have threated our very exis- tence through periods of crisis. We have withstood the ravages of attacks on our country and deep recessions that claimed many victims in our industry, as well as natural disasters that upset the supply chain, suspended business operations and stopped consumer spending. We are resilient, and we have proudly proclaimed our ability to get back up off the floor, dust ourselves off and go back to record-breaking sales. In each case, we quickly forgot what the bad days were like and focused once again on daily sales num- bers and bank deposit slips. Why should it be different this time, once we start to emerge from the pan- demic? The RV and outdoor hospitality industries will be in the best position to recover quickly and get back on track for several more years of financial rewards and accelerated growth. After all, many are predicting new sales, some of them to new prospects who will find the products and services we offer to be a much better alternative than getting on By Bob Zagami Bob Zagami has served as the executive director of the New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) since 2013 and is the principal consultant at RV Insights, a media, marketing and consulting company serving the RV and outdoor hospitality industries. He can be reached at bobzagami@nervda.com or via phone at 617-974-3739. a cruise ship, airplane, or vacationing with thousands of people you don't even know. Before the technology train leaves the station, let's jump onboard and see why we should really pay attention this time. You have probably had your fill of online meetings, given that you can't see anyone in person. In fact, just last week, one of those companies announced that they have to hire 500 additional software engineers. If you think online meetings will stop after we find a "new normal," I'm here to tell you they will not. That's not being cocky; it's a recognition of the reality that companies, and consumers, can do a lot of things online that they never thought of before until they had to. I suspect you are thinking the same way

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