There are plenty of ways that running a car dealership can make your life harder. From the cars themselves to all the paperwork, the logistics are tough. You also need reliable employees who don’t drive away customers and a company culture that builds customer loyalty. The following are a few ways you can be successful without ruining your life (or your reputation)?
Minimize your paperwork
Paperwork is one of those things everyone dreads, whether they’re in the car business or not. Between keeping track of checks, automating payments, and invoicing on time, it’s a lot to keep up with.
Business check companies are there to make your life easier. You can outsource your payment processing yet still stay in control, freeing up time that’s better used elsewhere. You simply create an account, go over the details with your account rep, and in just a couple of days you’re all set up. The system can grow with you as you need, and it’s one less worry on your plate.
Prioritize customer service
You should be able to name the top-selling cars and trucks in your target market off the top of your head. Great customer service starts with knowing what people want and making sure they get it. Once people show up at your dealership, go out of your way to make them comfortable.
The strong-arm sales pitch doesn’t work these days. In fact, it turns people off. Make sure everyone who comes in your dealership feels welcome and respected and you’ll start building a reputation that gets noticed.
Value your people
The only way to get great customer service is to make sure everyone you hire is as committed to it as you are. If you’re going to get the best performance out of your employees, though, they need to feel invested in what you’re building.
From the mechanics to the detailers, salespeople on the floor to the men and women in the back office, people make your company whatever it is, for good or bad. Take the time to find qualified, experienced people for every position and then take care of them.
Set clear goals
Everyone goes into business with the goal to “make money.” When things go poorly, they want to “do better.” Neither of these goals is useful. You need goals that are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
Instead of “do better” or even “make more sales,” a S.M.A.R.T. goal contains specifics. It might look something like this: between Feb 1 and May March 1, we will increase our sales by 5 percent. Setting goals is important, but just be sure that these goals are realistic.
Reach your market
The days of obnoxious car dealership ads are long gone. Marketing has gotten more sophisticated, and now the tools exist to bring the right customers to your door. Geofencing marketing allows you to send ads to phones based on their GPS location and even track which ones respond. Such hyper-local targeting gets you a better deal on advertising and allows you to connect with those who are likely to frequent your business.
Not only can you drive customers to your dealership, but you can actually drive them away from competitors. Geofencing can identify when people walk onto a competitor’s lot, allowing you to send a targeted ad offering a deal. Geofencing will even identify who has been researching cars on their mobile device so you can send them tailored messages about how you can meet their needs.
Monitor your online reputation
Modern people trust online reviews the way their grandparents trusted the word of friends or family. Your online reputation can sink you even when you’re doing everything right. All it takes is one person who takes offense at something you say, and before you know it, an inflated complaint is all over the Internet.
Even a manufacturing issue complaint can seem like the dealership’s fault. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your online reputation, answer complaints quickly and professionally, and thank people for their good reviews and comments.
Running a dealership requires hard work, but it’s not impossible. By using the appropriate tools and marketing tricks and practices, you’ll be in a strong position to run a successful car dealership.