Car dealerships can ill-afford a month of zero revenue so it’s time to ensure they continue trading safely, efficiently, and effectively – despite the closure of showrooms, says MotorVise Automotive managing director, Fraser Brown.
As England prepares to enter a second lockdown, it’s important for dealers to understand and abide by the rules while, at the very minimum, maintaining order take.
Dealerships can learn much from their first lockdown experience and the covid-secure policies and procedures developed that allowed customers to continue buying new and used vehicles, have their cars serviced and buy spare parts.
Interestingly, during the spring lockdown there were some dealers and dealer groups that achieved up to 60% of normal order take.
Fraser Brown said: “During May and June, I spent a great deal of time working with and talking to dealer groups to help them maintain and drive car sales and found the key factors in their success were communication and maintaining customer service and marketing spend.”
Analysing what the best performing dealers did to maintain revenue and drive sales when the showroom doors were closed, here are his recommendations:
– Communicate and reassure staff. Retain your top performing salespeople and get your sales managers taking orders.
– Communicate with customers and let them know they can still interact and buy. Provide video tours of cars and assure them that if they receive delivery of a car not as described, there’s a money back guarantee. MotorVise has a virtual appointment system that allows enquiries to be booked automatically into a zoom meeting with an available sales executive
– Keep marketing. Many dealer groups cancelled their Autotrader spend and Google AdWords spend. This left those that kept spending buying up all the AdWords at a tenth of the price and generating many more enquiries.
– Answer the phones and responding to web enquiries quickly, all part of delivering a great customer experience.
– Keep your service department running. Redeploy resources to the phones to drive incoming service work.
– Keep the used car pipeline going, keep up to date with preparation and ensure stock is available for sale online.
– Ensure all customer showroom systems have a portal element. The MotorVise Showroom system has the ability for customers to log in to see IDD, offer sheet, order form demands and requirements for finance and insurance.
– Identify who you can re deploy to provide home deliveries of vehicles. Taking orders will create a backlog and dealers will need to deliver these vehicles to keep the cash flowing.
– Don’t let additional products, such as F&I, dip. It is possible to set up a post sales zoom appointment with customers that can generate an additional £300 per unit, excluding finance.
Added Fraser: “Dealerships must abide by the lockdown rules while ensuring that they can legally and responsibly continue retailing vehicles and this can be done by building upon the experience of the spring lockdown.”