graeme_dengate

THE YEAR THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING  

In many ways, it was a horrible year, not least here in the UK with, on top of the disastrous virus, all sorts of Brexit-related complications and infighting. But in the midst of it all, more or less isolated at home, many of us also experienced some positive winds of creative change.

In my previous life as an automotive retail manager, I was constantly on the road, visiting retailers and clients around the country, enjoying the daily physical encounters with other car people. Learning about their experiences, needs, challenges, and problem solving. I absolutely loved it, in spite of the fact that the automotive industry can take a huge chunk out of your life at times. That said; I’ve always had a twisted attraction to the trade for those very reasons; the pressure, the targets, and the pace of the business.

Like many others in the business, I was also becoming aware of radical change on the horizon.

Beyond the rapid evolution of the cars themselves, including digitalization and electrification, new players with new ideas about distribution, marketing, and sales were invading the market. Some established dealers responded immediately, others are still struggling to fully understand what is happening, develop winning strategies, and, well, get it right.

Knockout experience

Personally, I was knocked out by a new solution for car dealers to bring every single car in stock alive with individual video presentations. Produced automatically in real-time at a ridiculously low cost. My first thought was: Too good to be true.

Suddenly a dealership with hundreds or even thousands of cars in stock, most of them used, could make every single one come alive in their online showrooms with a customized video.

Car buyers don’t just choose between brands and year models. They love or hate colours, some dig deeply into engine specification and performance data, others look into remaining environmental footprint, guarantees, or financing alternatives. Topics that real-life salespersons have always used to drive the dialogue towards a mutually happy end. Now every potential buyer could get a “live” video presentation of one or several cars with the right specifications online.

New beginnings

To make a not-so-long history even shorter, I found out that the Swedish startup company behind the product was scaling up rapidly in Europe, and was looking for a UK representative. Now, as Phyron’s Country Manager for the UK I continue to develop productive and exciting relationships with car dealers and related service providers around the UK and beyond.

Throughout the pandemic I have worked from home, discovering the many benefits of digital meetings, not least in terms of flexibility, reach, and productivity. I certainly look forward to meeting established and new customers and colleagues IRL, but the benefits of my digital worklife are here to stay.

For me, “The Big Shift” meant an even more exciting job with a new company in a dramatically changing business environment. More time for meaningful business meetings and family life. And less time in unpredictable congestions on the M23.

Graeme Dengate
UK Country Manager, Phyron Software

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