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2017 is upon us! Here are some New Year’s resolutions for auto dealers that are sure to make this next year a great one.
The turn of the new year is a time when people like to reinvent themselves. They make promises to exercise, eat healthier, achieve work goals, and forge relationships, among other things. Businesses, if they’re smart, follow suit. But committing to gym memberships and diets aren’t what car dealerships need. That’s why we’ve created this list of 10 resolutions for auto dealers to help you plan for success in 2017.
10 New Year’s resolutions for auto dealers:
1. Create a budget
Budgeting gets a bad rap, but it doesn’t need to feel like such a chore! When you’re creating your annual auto dealership budget, it’s a chance to plan for a fantastic upcoming year and organize all of your thoughts so you can take action. It’s also a perfect time for reflecting back on the year that is about to end — what worked? What didn’t work? And how can you use that knowledge to make next year better?
Read more about creating your budget here.
2. Display your ethics in your showroom
A survey of 200 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted by Total Dealer Compliance, showed that almost 65% of consumers believe dealership business practices are unethical. But 50% of people would be more likely to shop at an auto dealership that displays its code of sales ethics in the showroom. Where you post this code of ethics in your dealership is up to your discretion. Think about what would work best within the design of your showroom, as well as what would be most visible for both employees and customers.
Read more about sharing your code of ethics here.
3. Update your web design
In a 2015 survey by Accenture, 32 percent of participants said that dealer websites are “extremely influential” when they’re deciding to buy a car. Another survey from Adobe found that 38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. Seems like updating that web design is an excellent way to increase your 2017 customer base by over a third!
Read more about updating your website here.
4. Stay in compliance
Dealership compliance has spread like wildfire since the passing of Dodd-Frank and the formation of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. There are numerous strict regulations, from F&I to marketing to inventory, and it’s your job to stay on top of them. Because there are so many regulations to adhere to, it’s wise to strategize so that no one in your dealership ends up breaking the rules. Blaming non-compliance as “an accident” won’t save you in a courtroom.
Read more about compliance here.
5. Get creative with the advertising
Quality photos of your inventory are necessary, but most auto dealerships already know that. Go one step further and invest in video. In late 2013, Google released a report called “Digital Drives Auto Shopping,” and the results were very clear — 84% of car buyers plan to watch auto videos the next time they shop for a car. The report also found that an online video was the top ad format for driving brand consideration.
And remember, those numbers are from the end of 2013; online video’s impact has only increased since then. There are many ways to use online video for advertising, so make sure to play around with it and find the style that works for your brand.
Read more about creative advertising here.
6. Get social
Social media, as a whole, is only growing. In today’s world, if you want to run a successful car dealership, you need to learn how to use this tool properly. See what tactics connect best with followers and compile research. Once you have an idea of what’s working, begin turning your page into a well-oiled marketing machine.
Read more about social media here.
7. Incentivize your sales teams
Spiffs are short-term incentives based on a particular focus of your choosing. Salespeople earn bonuses — usually cash — for achieving specific goals that you’ve set. This is a widely accepted way in the auto industry to boost morale and encourage some friendly competition among your team.
Read more about creating your own Spiff here.
8. Diversify your workforce
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that women only make up about 21.4% of all employees at auto dealers. However, an analysis conducted by Frost & Sullivan found that 51% of all licensed drivers in the U.S. are women. Even more surprising? Women influence 80% of car buying decisions. Road & Travel Magazine believes that number is even higher; they say that women control 95% of all auto purchases. The obvious conclusion? More women on your sales teams.
Read more about the success of women as car dealers here.
9. Build your reputation
Reputation is everything – and not just in your personal life, but in business as well. It’s not who you are — it’s who people perceive you to be, based on your actions. Reputations form because opinions spread. When someone has an experience at your dealership — good or bad — and they share their views with another person in face-to-face conversation, with 500 of their closest friends on Facebook, or on an online review site like Yelp, it contributes to your reputation within the community. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to make your reputation a favorable one.
Read more about building a good reputation here.
10. Invest in new technology
Introducing new technology to your sales team is a smart move. CRM software is one of the top resolutions for auto dealers who are ready to see better sales numbers.
If you’re considering CRM software for your dealership, it’s important that you train your teams to utilize its benefits. Integration into your business strategy will create a smooth transition.
Read more about CRM software here.