At the Gillrie Institute we strongly believe in following the right set of rules in every negotiation. Our approach is designed to guide car and truck dealers through the selection process and help executives make smart decisions about their next Dealership Management System (DMS), Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), Phone System (VoIP), or other dealership system.

Here is how we helped our 7,000 dealer partners save over 1 billion dollars:

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This initial Scoping Stage is all about setting the right focus for our dealer’s technology project. Together with the dealership team we will define their current position in the process, verify the system’s requirements and come up with a game plan. This stage includes:

  • Defining the project goals, principal roles and communication paths,
  • Checking the dealer’s outline specifications by analyzing their latest technology bill,
  • Requesting the dealer’s contractual obligations with their current vendor, verifying expiration dates and identifying potential pitfalls.
  • Understanding time constraints and auto-renewal clauses, and validating vendor lead times.
In the Screening Stage we will discover the dealer’s preferences particularly for functionality, system’s price points, and contract terms. Like a fingerprint this set of preferred value propositions is unique and different from dealer to dealer. It will determine what available options in the market are worth to pursue. Major activities of this stage are:

  • Determining the right vendor mix for the bidding process based on the dealer’s preferences.
  • Putting our dealers in contact with the right vendor representatives.
  • Setting up vendor onsite visits and preparing dealers for demos by providing them with guidelines and questions that are created to unveil potential red flags.
  • Requesting proposals in a format that makes vendors disclose all the details necessary to prepare an accurate analysis of the total costs of ownership (TCO).

We will advise dealers on which system works and which doesn’t based on actual experience. Since over 7,000 dealer partners regularly give us their feedback, our advice is based on current real world occurrences, not subjective opinion or guesses.

The Analysis Stage is certainly among the most critical phases in the selection process as it is here we strive to identify the dealer’s first choice. The key to success is to understand both the set of business applications that come with the respective system and the system’s total costs of ownership (TOC) over the term of the contract. This is the only way to create an apples-to-apples comparison between different vendors and narrow down the choices. This step includes:

  • Explaining each vendor’s discount practices and typical negotiation processes,
  • Reviewing the systems’ configuration and confirming the right set of applications that is needed and desired to operate the dealership,
  • Generating a side-by-side comparison between different systems that get dealers the facts about the points of parity and difference,
  • Analyzing system upfront costs for hardware, software implementation, training and other professional services,
  • Critically assessing recurring monthly charges associated with the system and equipment, and
  • Checking the best financing options available from the various vendors.

Providing dealers with a forthright assessment of a vendor’s technology offer is a Gillrie domain and has been well known in the industry for over two decades. What makes our analytics so special is that we uncover the hidden costs associated with a technology deal and show dealers exactly what others are paying for the same services. Our Gillrie benchmarks are derived from hundreds of real-life transactions every week and build the starting point for every negotiation round. By tracking pricing of over 13,000 items from 300+ vendors we can advice dealers on what discounts they should be getting and guarantee the most accurate recommendations.

In the Closing Stage we support dealers in doing what comes so naturally to them: negotiate the final price and terms. Dealers can have us “load their lips” with proven strategies that work, or have us negotiate directly with the vendors. In both cases dealers will never lose control over the decision since we never commit to any contracts on their behalf. Regardless of who will have the lead in the final rounds, our Gillrie benchmarks are just the starting point for every negotiation round. In this stage we will be:

  • Formulating and implementing a proven negotiating plan that includes preparing the dealer’s team for each vendor meeting by reviewing the Gillrie benchmarks for the respective offer,
  • Assisting in structuring the master services agreement with the special terms and considerations that will offer long-term protection from vendor abuse,
  • Reviewing the final contracts and lease documents to ensure that it includes all the agreed upon items and the appropriate addenda.
Once our dealers have concluded their negotiations we will help them prepare for the system’s launch. During the Implementation Stage we will primarily assist with our experience during the installation, data conversion and training. We can also be involved as a de-escalation path in case of problems with the vendor’s implementation efforts.
The final Policing Stage is no less important than the previous steps in the process, since this phase is all about monitoring and guarding your contract. Our activities in this stage will cover:

  • Providing periodic analyses of the vendor’s monthly billings to ensure compliance with the negotiated terms,
  • Advising the dealer on cost reduction techniques that may be employed over the full term of the agreement (e.g. maintenance cancellations),
  • Assisting with system add-ons and enhancements to ensure competitive discounting and enforcement of having all add-ons coterminous with the master service agreement,
  • Assisting with potential support and training issues, and
  • Navigating the complexity of buy/sell situations and their impact on our dealer’s technology contracts.