Every car dealer dreams of sitting on top of their regional sales rankings. Some may also strive to be number one in a larger area, such as their state. Preston Ford strives for an even bigger objective. For the past eight years, Preston Ford has made it their goal to consistently rank in the top one hundred Ford dealerships in the country. This may not seem like a big deal. However, the location of this particular Ford dealership makes this story one to remember.
Preston Ford is located in the small, rural town of Preston, MD. With a population of 706 people, according to the US Census Bureau, the goal of number one in the region should seem like a stretch, let alone ranking nationally. Yet this didn’t stop Preston Ford from setting their sights on being a Top 100 Ford dealership in the United States. Through a combination of intelligence, internet savvy, and teamwork, Preston Ford has been able to go above and beyond expectations, and compete with the biggest Ford retailers in the country.
In 2009, Preston Ford realized that they were just out of reach of ranking in the Top 100 Ford dealers. This inspired them to aim higher, and thus the Top 100 Sales Drive was created. This now branded event is a month-long, end-of-the-year push towards reaching their ever-increasing yearly goals. In the course of the month, Preston Ford sells over 500 new Ford vehicles. These December sales, along with the previous months’, have placed Preston Ford in the Top 100 Ford dealerships since 2010. From ranking 93rd in 2010 to 63rd in 2016, Preston Ford is constantly improving. How do they do it? Five key strategies are the foundation for Preston Ford’s success: Cooperation, Commitment, Consistency, Connectivity, and Community.
The concept of Cooperation stems from Preston Ford’s underlying culture. All employees, from their sales people to their technicians, live and breathe Preston Ford’s core values. They are passionate about what they do, and enjoy going to work every day. This makes it easy for the departments to work together and cooperate to reach a common goal. Even the other stores within the Preston Automotive Group support Preston Ford in reaching their goal.
Commitment starts with a game plan. Every year, Preston Ford plans out their inside strategies, marketing, and employees’ use of social media. Each morning, they meet to discuss daily tracking and sales history. The employees show their commitment by working every day of December, with the exception of Christmas day. They also commit to Ford Motor Company at both tier 1 and tier 2, Ford Motor Credit Company, and other financial institutions.
Every year, Preston Ford increases their inventory levels to ensure they stock the largest Ford inventory in the area. Their prices are always advertised as the lowest. The message and advertising imagery also stay the same. Customer service is just as good as it has always been, if not better. Preston Ford strives to make every customer’s experience the best possible. All of this is known as Consistency. Consistency is branding 101. To create a good name for themselves, Preston Ford has stayed true to their core values.
Digital Marketing plays a huge role in the success of the Top 100 Sales Drive, and Preston Ford in general. Also called Connectivity, marketing maximizes the results of the sales event. Between budget increases and new channels and strategies focused on the specific event, the message of the Top 100 Sales Drive reaches as many customers as possible. The focus is on getting the best outcomes in branding, in-market shoppers, and the conquest of auto buyers.
Lastly, the strategy that is dearest to the owner and family of Preston Ford is Community. Preston Ford is constantly giving back to their local community. For every vehicle sold, the owner, Dave Wilson, gives “x” amount to a local worthy cause. The dealership holds many events during the month of December such as bike drives, Bears That Care, toy collections, etc. Their employees also get involved in their local communities.
There’s a lot that goes into selling 500+ new Fords, in one month, in the middle of a cornfield. As you can see though, the results pay off. Preston Ford is currently on track to make this year even better than their last, while many dealerships are struggling with lower sales volume numbers.
Join Brent Durham and David Wilson of Preston Automotive Group for their session “Breaking into the Top 100 Dealers List: A Unique Story of One Rural Dealer” at the Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo this Sept. 18-20th in Las Vegas, where you’ll learn about the strategies and processes that enable this rural dealership to be able to compete with the biggest Ford retailers in the country. This session will not just tell you their story but also give you the tools necessary to be able to implement real sales increases at your own dealerships.
A consummate student of the industry, Brent Durham basically grew up in dealerships and has touched almost every role. He understands the importance of lean operations and is obsessed with ensuring dealer advertising brings the highest ROI and the lowest amount of waste. Brent serves as Preston Automotive Group’s Digital Marketing Director and is actively involved in the day to day marketing operations at the dealer level. In addition, he holds a key position in dealership-owned iFrog Digital Marketing, where he serves as COO and is the driving force for all digital marketing strategies for clients.
Author: Contributing Writer
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