LotVantage Blog

7 Tips to do right NOW when things are slow at the dealership

Mar 23, 2020 8:11:20 AM / by Jim Jabaay

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a tremendous amount of change across our country and the world. For some of you, the state has completely closed your ability to do business. For others, it has been significantly cut. The good news, we’ve been through things like this before. While things may be slower, let’s not bury our head in the sand, but instead review our businesses and be ready for the return of customers. Below are 7 tips you could do right now to set yourself apart from your competition.

Tip #1: Focus on your digital sales process

This is a loaded one. It starts with becoming your own customer and experiencing the journey. Visit your website and your 3rd party classified sites. Submit an online lead. Call the store. Are your call tracking numbers routing properly? Are all your social media links working as expected on your website? What is the auto-response you get once you submit the lead? How is it assigned in our CRM? Acting as the customer, do you understand what you should expect next? Is your online credit application secure and does it give the customer the confidence that their information will be secure? Document your process on the customer side of the journey and match it to your internal process. Remember, the customer wants to shop in a manner that is convenient for THEM, not what is best for YOU!

Tip #2: Focus on your in-store sales process

Once again, become your own customer. Next time you drive to the store, pull off into a parking lot before you get there and grab a sheet of paper to take your notes. Drive up to the store and act as if it is your first time coming there. Attempt to park up front. As a customer, is it inviting? Is it clear where I should park or where I should go if I am looking for service? How does the inventory look? Is it clean and ready to go, or covered in dirt? How does your sales team respond and greet a customer when they walk into the store? Your customer is there for a reason and at this point, they have made 70% of the buying decision. It is up to you to get the deal done. Once greeted by the sales team, what happens next is important. We need to introduce ourselves and gather the names of the customers, but not in a robotic manner. Are we putting every lead into the CRM including the lead source? We can’t measure what we don’t collect and will never be able to understand our ROI of marketing if we don’t complete this for walk ups, just like internet and phone leads. Do you have a process as a GM or GSM to try and meet every customer that walks through the door? As a consumer, it makes a big difference and makes them feel that much more important.

Tip #3: Review your CRM

This goes hand in hand with tip #1 and tip #2. You should have an email cadence that is different for each lead type. They may not vary much, but they should be different. Ensure that your emails don’t say: Dear [First Name], thanks for your interest in our [Year] [Make] [Model], but actually triggers the proper words. Trust me, I’ve received them before and it’s the fastest way to turn off a customer. Confirm with your sales team that every action they take is added to the CRM for the customer profile. If you have had salespeople leave the organization, make sure you have properly reassigned the customers to another salesperson. Do you have emails set up to go out with service offerings, accessories sales, and new model alerts?

Tip #4: Image all of your Inventory

This is one of my favorite ones. We already know that our customer spends most of their time online, yet we don’t give the inventory we have in stock a chance to shine. Every piece of inventory, used and new, needs a MINIMUM of 15 photos, but really should have 30 plus. Stock images are terrible. The phones that you and your sales team carry are perfect for imaging inventory. Having the sales team image inventory will help them learn what you have in stock and what makes it unique. While it’s slower, take this time to image everything and get caught up, then put in a process to stay on top of it on a daily basis.

Tip #5: Review Your Marketing Spend

Gather your bills and take a look at all of your spend, then take your last 12 months of customers and every lead along with the lead source. Hopefully every lead has the proper source identified by the sales team. How many leads come from each of your marketing initiatives? What is the closing ratio for each of the sources? Now may be the time to invest more in certain digital initiatives and cut back on others. Just because the spend is co-op’d doesn’t mean it’s the right spend for you. Do you have separate initiatives and budgets for new vs. used inventory? Challenge everything.

Tip #6: Set Up your Google My Business

Google yourself! Well, not yourself but your business. Have you claimed your GMB (Google My Business) account? On the right-hand side of the desktop, you will see your GMB profile. Typically, under the phone number, will be a link to manage the listing. This is where you can claim your listing and manage your profile. You can also download the GMB app on your phone. Everything you need as a customer is right here. Reviews, directions, hours of operation, phone number, about your store, photos of the dealership outside AND inside, and products. Is all this information up to date and correct? Are all your reviews responded to? Ask yourself if yourself if you would buy from your own dealership (see tip #1 and #2).

Tip #7: Train your Sales Team

This is really a larger part of Tip #1 and Tip #2. Have each member of your sales team give a walk around of the new inventory. Ensure they know the features of each unit and how it stacks against the competition. This may feel awkward at first as nothing is more uncomfortable then pitching in front of our peers, but it will make you stronger! Find them training courses on how to fight objections and set appointments. Get with your CRM and have them conduct a training on utilization. While things are slow, salespeople can get discouraged easily. Keep them positive and improve upon what they do well.

As you know this list can go on. Our goal is to give you a few ideas that can improve your dealership both now and for the future! We make the biggest strides when our backs are against the wall and we face adversity. Don’t bury your head in the sand! Double down on our efforts and lead your team!

If there is anything we can help with, reach out and let’s chat!

Jim Jabaay

Written by Jim Jabaay