In the days of automatic bill pay, grocery delivery, and an app for everything, it’s clear that we like tech that essentially lets us do nothing. And I don’t mean to imply that we’re lazy or are using that time to sit on our hands; quite the opposite in fact. As a society, we like technology that makes our lives better, easier, and more organized, and we love technology that takes care of the things we don’t want to do for us.
That’s part of the reason why I joined Foureyes, a software company that believes big results come from incremental changes. The belief that most people won’t fully change a process or their behavior, even if they have the interest and intention, is central to the products we build. We know that it’s not due to a lack of dedication, willpower, or interest. It’s just that change is against human nature. And it takes time, and why should you give up that time when today’s best technology doesn’t require you to?
Why We Should Embrace Inertia
I worked in the financial services industry for nearly 10 years, specifically focused on encouraging employees to participate in their company-sponsored retirement plans. I saw first hand that we had a much higher take-up rate when companies automatically enrolled their employees in a retirement plan and gave them the option to opt out. Our results were similar to Vanguard, the giant investment firm that found 82% of workers participated in 401(k) and equivalent employer-sponsored retirement plans when enrolled automatically, compared to 65% when employees had to sign up for the plans on their own.
This type of automatic-enrollment follows the Nudge Theory, a Nobel Economics prize-winning concept that encourages people to make decisions that are in their own self-interest by making it easier for them to make a decision. With regard to retirement plans, the idea is that people want to put more money aside for retirement, but they’re delaying doing so because they’re put off by what they assume would be complicated decisions and a large time investment. Automatically enrolling them and requiring them to opt-out instead of originally having to opt-in saves them time and lets them easily act in their own self-interest.
Why This Matters for Auto Dealers
The idea that you should work with people’s natural behaviors and leverage the nudge theory is especially important for auto dealerships to understand. The automotive industry is currently under immense pressure to embrace change and disrupt the retail experience. This puts pressure on dealerships to go against what they’ve always done and there seems to be an expectation that to outpace the competition you need to break processes, test new methods, and not stick with the status quo. But the reality is, auto salespeople have their tried and true methods. The sales tactics and processes they stick to. When dealership owners or managers try to roll-out tools or tactics that require their salespeople to change, even with the best of intentions, they often fail because they don’t align with how people actually work.
It’s time we learn from this and work with people's wants and behaviors instead of trying to change them. By understanding how things are and leaning into existing processes, you can make incremental improvements that add up in big ways. It’s something we’ve learned from working with thousands of dealerships across the country. Small changes that respect your staff and current processes and don’t require them to change will work better in the long run.
Add Value By Leaning In to Inertia
When you’re looking to make a change, add new sales technology, or partner with a new vendor, here are a few questions to keep in mind:
- Does this meet my salespeople where they are?
- How much does this ask of them?
- Does this require additional staff?
- Do behavior changes complement existing processes?
- Does this add incremental value?
By asking these questions, you can invest in sales tools that play to the strengths of your salespeople and help them win. Ideally, you should choose technology that allows salespeople to follow their existing processes and sales methods, but get more wins. This win-win supports your sales team, while improving your employee retention and dealership close rates.
At Foureyes, our products are built to help salespeople and dealerships win. They help salespeople, BDC teams, and managers do their job better by tracking, engaging, and assisting with lead conversions. Interested in continuing the conversation and learning more? Feel free to reach out—I’m always happy to talk about how technology and leaning in to inertia can impact sales.