Running an auto dealership is not all fun and games, it is hard work. In fact, though most dealership owners thrive on the competitive atmosphere and love cars, it is the kind of work that takes up your nights and weekends. But for many dealership owners it is worth every minute because these are people who live and breathe the auto industry.
While their friends in high school were forming garage bands with dreams of rock stardom, they were in the garage working on their car to make it run smoother and accelerate faster. But just because you love cars and thrive on competition doesn’t guarantee you a successful dealership. If you want to see a return on all that money and time invested, you need to work smart as well as hard. Here are three areas every dealership owner needs to watch carefully to ensure they are delivering everything they can, just as you would a well tuned engine in a car you love.
Promotion is the Key
While we are all familiar with those late-night television ads by local car dealerships, dealership marketing is much more than that. Today you need to be smart about how you use the internet to promote that dealership. This includes a savvy social media campaign, taking advantage of online video services such as YouTube to create interesting walkarounds of your latest models and more.
Sometimes it is just little things, like putting license plate holders with your dealership name and website on each car you sell. Whether you are taking out ads on local radio, inviting the local high school to stage a fundraiser car wash at your dealership or posting car videos on your dealership Facebook page, marketing your dealership is an ongoing project that helps to keep prospective buyers streaming into your showroom.
Prospecting Never Stops
No matter how busy your dealership is, the need to continue to prospect for new buyers never stops. This is sometimes a hard thing to get through to your salespeople, who should be doing their own calls each week in addition to the ones you create through programs and hiring cold callers. Don’t forget to create allies amongst your vendors and favorite customers, they will always know someone who could use a new car at a good price.
Include similar but not competitive dealerships who might want to partner with you on a big ad campaign or on the cost of cold calling. Create seminars for local CEOs on the latest models, hire a professional video producer to make a rock star quality video of you and your dealership and never ever forget to network with everyone you meet. That old friend who has lunch with you each month could lead to a great contract with his boss for a fleet for the company.
Review Your Failures
Failing is not fun, but it is how we all learn. So be sure to have your salespeople and everyone in your company who is involved in prospecting and sales review each week those that didn’t happen. Discuss what went wrong, where there is room for improvement and then act on it. Sometimes you can even resurrect the deal, given the right circumstances.
Try all of these and you will see the best ROI ever for your dealership. Hard work and smart work together will pay off in the long run.