Install Now -- Don't Be Afraid of Relationships
If a trip isn't in the stars for you, there is great value in a joint mentoring program where you stay in contact to discuss practices, hurdles or new ideas. As your trust in and familiarity with the other firms grows, this becomes a very powerful tool.
This is not about cloning organizations, it's about dialogue, and establishing a credible resource to discuss and explore best, new and creative practices. Using other dealers that you trust can provide pivotal insights that make a difference to the outcome. It could be a simple matter of corroboration or acknowledgement that things are done differently in each organization; other times, utter epiphanies might occur.
Learning from one another can help us evolve our businesses. I recently heard author Seth Godin speak at a conference (I highly recommend his book, Survival is Not Enough) at which he preached the importance of continuous change, and the need to keep your firm agile, receptive and practiced to change. Godin presented a good case for weaving change into the corporate fabric, and introduced a concept called zooming — making small changes an everyday event.