Move cars off the lot faster than you can drive them
In your dealership, performance can be measured in many different ways—and you have the ability to make small, important changes today.
You may think your dealership is doing pretty great. Your staff is putting up some impressive numbers, your customers seem happy, and your marketing tactics are bringing people in.
You’ve worked hard to get to this point and you just want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but there’s something critical that you have to remember: don’t get comfortable.
No matter how well you’re currently doing, there are always areas of dealership performance that you can improve. There isn’t a dealership in existence that’s getting it right 100 percent of the time—and if you aren’t constantly trying to get better, your dealership performance won’t just stay level, it will start to dip eventually.
Working to improve parts of your dealership doesn’t have to be an enormous undertaking; it can be as gradual as you want it to be. The goal is just to focus on ideas for enhancing the way you do business.
Here are five questions you can ask yourself when it comes to improving your dealership performance.
1. How can you make your dealership’s waiting area better?
You probably don’t give your dealership’s waiting area much thought—after all, what’s there to think about? You need to look at it from your customer’s point of view, though. No one wants to sit in a waiting area, especially for an extended period, so wouldn’t it be nice to create an environment that keeps customers happy?
Consider smaller, but appreciated touches, like free Wi-Fi, free snacks, and high-quality coffee. If you can invest a little more, think about a couple of massage chairs or creating a mini arcade. You want to create an atmosphere that shows you care about your customers, but it’s up to you to decide what form that should take.
2. How can you get better at retaining customers?
It costs about 6 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. And your existing customer base is 60-70% more likely to make a purchase, while only 5 to 20% of people will become new customers. So what are you doing to keep those customers you worked so hard to snag?
Look at the current customer retention strategies you’re using (or are you?) and think about ways you can beef them up a bit. Common methods include loyalty incentives, reward programs, drip campaigns, and extras perks in the service department. Quality is the name of the game in all areas of your dealership and customer service excellence.
3. How can your team be better at following up with customers?
Sending follow-up emails to customers is an essential way to keep your buyers in the dealership loop. Hopefully, you’ll be able to stay top-of-mind whenever past customers need their cars serviced, or they’re looking to purchase another vehicle. Follow-up emails can re-engage a lead and provide a personal touch—something that goes a long way, especially for dealerships.
If you don’t have an automotive CRM already, it may be time to make the leap. Your salespeople can receive yearly reminders for milestone dates and gain easy access to customer history, allowing them to personalize each follow-up communication.
4. What are some ways your salespeople can implement low-pressure sales tactics?
Your salespeople may be doing a great job, but there are always low-pressure sales tactics available to boost sales and improve your dealership performance. For example, gentle upselling is a proven way to increase the value of a purchase when you already have a paying customer on-hand. Have your salespeople learn unique details about the brands you’re selling, like Honda or Jeep facts, to engage customers and pique their interest a bit more.
5. How can you be better at retaining staff and creating loyalty?
Keeping customers is essential to dealership performance, but so is retaining staff. Turnover has a tendency to be high in auto dealerships—especially with salespeople—and that can be truly frustrating for someone trying to run a profitable business. Constant turnover is expensive, lowers morale, and decreases performance.
How can you not just keep your staff, but keep them happy and loyal? Consider how you show appreciation for their efforts—spiffs, rewards, parties—and also how you compensate them. If you’re always helping them improve and earn more cash, while making them feel appreciated at the same time, you’ll be much more likely to keep them on the payroll.
Just remember—you don’t have to walk into your dealership tomorrow and do a complete overhaul of all your business operations. Small changes over time can add up, and before you know it, you’ll gain a reputation for being the best dealership in town.