The dealership market is changing. A younger generation is growing in the management side of dealer operations, and with that comes a new found growth mentality. Take a look at Digital Dealer’s article on Sarasota Ford, and you’ll see what I mean. And while many dealerships are doing well, and have shown a constant growth pattern quarter after quarter, the obvious question that appears would be to ask how long this growth can sustainably continue. That’s not the question we’re going to answer today. This isn’t the most important question. Instead there needs to be a deep dive into what can implode a dealership from within; large growth that comes too quickly. If a dealership were to double in the number of leads and traffic, tomorrow, could it handle such a growth? There will be many who read this who believe they hold ample room for a sudden increase to become a sudden growth, however without certain procedures and proper preparations, a dealership cannot handle a growth of any large size.
Taking a closer look at these key functions will help to better equip the dealership for the eventual growth. Because let’s be honest, does a dealership really want to stay static and continue to sell the same number of cars year in and year out? No. This is an industry of ever-changing itself, one where each dealership and automotive group strives to increase its hold on its market. This is why the automotive dealership industry is unlike any other. There are a few key functions that the dealership must hold before a sustainable growth in leads and traffic can be taken into consideration. It begins with your marketing efforts, holds steady with your dealership management tools, and closes with your staff.
- Dealership marketing efforts must show clear and concise results for a growth to be handled properly. One of the largest problems that can happen inside a dealership is to have a growing number of leads fill the time of personnel, and to have those leads be poorly rated. This is why the need for proper reporting and attributing models must be set up by the vendors that the dealership uses. If your sales personnel are running in circles tracking down leads that actually have little interest in purchasing a vehicle, but your vendor claims they’re “hot” leads, there is a massive and problematic issue in place. Up to date and CLEAR reporting modules must be in place from EVERY vendor used by any dealership. If the dealership has a proper attributing model to leads that are coming into the dealership, no matter the avenue they take, growth will become more attainable in any manner.
- Dealership management tools must provide an ease of use and a clear user experience. One that takes the effort out of the users hands and gives the sales representatives an unblocked pathway towards the sale, especially if the dealership’s traffic increases exponentially. The dealership’s CRM will be at the heart of this, and should hold a few key functions to prevent any loss during any type of growth.
- The CRM should be shifted from the desktop PC environment to a truly mobile and responsive platform, one in which the sales representatives can utilize through the use of iPads and tablets.
- Algorithms must be used to focus on a customer’s true ability to purchase. This should include multiple methods to lower payments, including data from the consumers’ history that expands more than just through customer equity.
- Target marketing within the CRM with an analytical focus on the consumers’ contact methods, including dates and times most likely to be available.
- Increase in data hygiene.
- All-in-one desking tools, and paperless showrooms, allowing the customer and the salesperson the ability for a faster and easier process.
- The use of Artificial Intelligence.
- Dealership sales representatives are the final, yet important, function in creating a growth model ready for a sustainable increase in traffic and sales. All sales representatives must be trained properly in not only the CRM and dealership tools, but also in how to provide the best customer experience. If a salesperson cannot provide the essential experience to the consumer, and has an inability to function alongside the dealerships CRM, unfortunately, they should be replaced. Successful dealerships thrive as a whole, and to succeed with a large increase in sales and traffic, the need for a complete “unit” is more important than ever before. The all-for-one mentality may have driven many dealerships in the past, however this time has passed, and the entire dealership now must work together, or risk failing when an eventual rise in business comes through the doors.
Exponential growth is the dream of many dealerships across the country, but can these stores handle such an increase properly and provide the level of customer satisfaction that is needed to keep such an increase? Unless a methodology is set in place and steps are taken, the chances of succeeding in such a growth will prove to be near impossible. Utilizing a dealerships marketing efforts, providing dealership staff with an advanced CRM, and hiring and training staff that will help in the growth of the overall dealership, is the only way that any dealership will stay current and survive when a large growth arrives.
Author: Aubrey Hankins
Aubrey Hankins serves as Social Media Marketing Director for CRMSuite, a software company providing dealerships with industry leading, technologically advanced CRM Software. With almost 10 years of marketing and social media experience, he brings a wealth of informative automotive discussion and debate, all in order to help dealers sell more cars.