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5 Things Every Dealership Should Do to Prepare for the Future

Article Highlights:

  • Your dealership may be successful now, but the future is always uncertain.
  • Never stop investing in change.

Your dealership is successful and running smoothly. That’s a great first step. Now it’s time to forget about today’s success and look to the future.

Being satisfied with the status quo and resting on the accomplishments of today only diminishes your chances of future success. If you need to be convinced, see the Great Recession of 2008, when numerous dealerships were forced to close their doors.

I’m not trying to scare you. I’m trying to encourage you to use your success as the foundation to an even brighter future. Have foresight and think a step ahead.

I compiled a list any dealer should complete if they want to invest in the future. These pointers aren’t things to be implemented overnight. They should be viewed as stepping stones that will lead to growth.

1. No single-purpose employees; everyone should know how to do everyone else’s job.

Salespeople should know how to use the same tools the BDC does and the BDC should be able to sell cars. Sales managers should be able to work in F&I and finance managers should be able to perform TO’s if needed.  Every service writer should be able to look up parts for a customer and every counterperson should be able to open and close an RO.

It’s important for your employees to have “crossover” skills for many reasons. It challenges each staff member to be well-rounded and creates a more efficient workflow because they know what the other department will need.

2. Never think tomorrow will be better than today.

Does it ever seem like your staff is more motivated on certain days than others? If you’re in a management position, inspire your team to bring their “A-game” every day!

The sales team needs to treat EVERY DAY like it’s the last day of the month or end of the year because every selling day is important. Every day the BDC needs to push to make appointments and sales managers should look over unsold deals to see if they can be closed or flipped.

Trade appraisers should treat each day like it’s the first of the month.  Always try to avoid putting too much into a trade to make a deal – you might risk losing money in the future.

The parts department should remove obsolete parts and make appointments, as well as call the customer for pick-up the moment their order is fulfilled. Stay on top of your goals with effective follow-up tools and activities. Don’t let a question go unanswered, or an appointment go unscheduled.

3. Never stop investing in training.

Never believe that each department cannot improve.  Dealerships often spend huge amounts of money to implement new technology, but fail to invest in ongoing training to ensure they’re getting the most out of their tools and people. Ensure you have experienced consultants to work with that have extensive knowledge of your systems and years of experience in your field.

4. Have long-term goals for each department.

As millennials fill dealership’s staffing needs it becomes increasingly crucial to keep these new hires engaged. A Wall Street Journal article states, “Nearly 60% of dealership hires are millennial workers, and more than half of those new hires turn over annually.”

If turnover is keeping you up at night I suggest you set specific goals for each department. This gives workers (especially the rookies) something to work toward and decreases the likelihood of them jumping ship. Set numbers for BDC appointments, new and used car sales, lease sales, accessory sales, or profit margin targets for the parts and service departments.

5. Communicate within the organization.

Every sales meeting should highlight which advertising and marketing campaigns to look out for. Rebates, incentives, and sales goals should be addressed. Each Sales Manager should meet with their team and review past prospects to see how they can help them close each deal. Following up with prospects is key.

The general manager should meet with F&I and address contracts in transit. The entire shop (parts and service) should meet and discuss campaigns, technical service bulletins, and their goals. This constant communication will only help if management can effectively monitor the overall financial health of the dealership. Employees also have a part to play with every transaction.

Conclusion

There’s no time like the present to move your dealership’s successes into the next orbit. Just take the time to invest in your business with these few steps, and let Reynolds and Reynolds help!

For more information on training and system utilization improvement, contact Reynolds Consulting Services at 1.800.649.7515 or send us an email, consulting@reyrey.com.

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Reynolds Consulting Services

Sean has 11 years of in-dealership experience working in various roles for Fixed Operations. He joined the Reynolds Consulting Services team in 2013 so that he could help improve dealership processes and system utilization. He consults on CRM processes, Retail Sales Operations, and Fixed Operations.

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