Dealerships are constantly grappling with two things:
- How to set themselves apart from their competition
- How to make more money
When devising a strategy to accomplish these objectives, it is crucial to identify universal trends in consumers’ retail preferences, and align your dealership’s sales techniques appropriately. Management must also continually think “outside of the box” and come up with tactics that position their salespeople most optimally in the eyes of their customers. This is not an easy task, but to be successful, every dealership must find a way to rise above the challenge.
One way dealerships can achieve this is by pre-installing low cost items that are thought to have a high value, and positioning them as complimentary add-ons. These items include:
- Exterior Paint Protection – helps keep the car looking new and increases the trade-in value
- Anti-Theft Protection – car theft is still a prevalent crime in certain areas
- Dealer Branded Pre-Paid Maintenance – guarantees a customer will come back to the selling dealer’s service department to perform scheduled maintenance. What’s more, Dealer Branded Pre-Paid Maintenance can only be used at the selling dealer unlike OEM Pre-Paid Maintenance that can be used in any
Additionally, to offset the cost of the preload, a dealership’s F&I department must be able to upsell the Exterior Paint Protection and Pre-Paid Maintenance to a longer term and Anti-Theft Protection to a greater dollar amount. To do so, a dealership’s senior management team should set a certain upsell penetration requirement to incentivize their sales teams.
This comprehensive strategy will undoubtedly create a sense of loyalty and sheds a more positive light on to the dealership.
Dealers should also be sure to prominently display the items they are including in the sale price of the car on a separate addendum sticker. Sales staff should be trained accordingly, and be well versed as to the value added by these products to vehicles so that they may position them well with customers. The information featured on these addendum stickers should also be included in their print/online efforts (Website, TV, Radio, Internet, and Social Media). There should be marketing materials on every salesperson’s desk as well to reinforce the message.
These are just a few examples of the types of innovations that dealerships must implement in order to stay competitive in their changing market. They need to remember that it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach though, and certain tactics are more effective for some than others.
In their rush to stand out, many dealerships implement tactics without properly validating their customers’ needs first, leading to “hit or miss” results. By focusing on something as universal as these added perks/low cost items, dealerships will eliminate any risk of failure. In today’s fast-paced digitally-dominated market where so much of the car sales process is conducted online, there is still a strong need for brick-and-mortar auto dealerships. But only those who adapt with their changing customer needs will survive.
Author: Max Zanan
Max Zanan is co-founder and CEO of Total Dealer Compliance, an auditing firm that provides a comprehensive solution to ensure car dealers are fully compliant with Federal regulations within Sales, BDC, F&I, Fixed Ops, HR and IT departments. Zanan has helped several dealerships mitigate the risks and exposure through compliant practices. Previously, he was executive director at Vehicle Manufacturers, CEO at Elite Auto Group, and general manager at Five Towns Mitsubishi. EMAIL: Mzanan@dealer-communications.com