Posted November 14th, 2022 by Arnold Tijerina
No matter the circumstances, if you’re a quality dealership or manager, you know what the process should be. You know what good business looks like. To put it another way, if you don’t inspect what you expect, then you will get what you are willing to tolerate. Essentially, that means that if you don’t have expectations set forth and go the extra mile to deliver on those expectations, you’re going to accept that your customers may go somewhere else because they want that higher caliber of service.
Are you going the extra mile or are you accepting that the pandemic business will just run its course while you (and customers) tolerate things neither of you normally wouldn’t even think of entertaining?
Yes, there are supply issues. Yes, there are inventory constraints. And yes, some dealerships are selling everything that’s not nailed to the floor. However, some dealerships are not embracing the opportunity to make improvements to the customer experience in a time when things aren’t so good.
If you make changes when business is slow, you’re not looking into a future of it being successful. You have the room to make tweaks and slowly integrate new strategies rather than waiting until you have no choice and then you’re forced into decisions and business moves.
Staffing and Its Role in the Customer Experience
The pandemic sent a lot of people home from their jobs for an unknown period. As business slowed, dealerships were forced to cut back on nonessential staff and some are struggling to get back to the amount of staff that they’re used to having on hand. Some dealerships may have had more than enough before COVID when things were good. But when COVID hit, dealers had to thin out their resources. They didn’t have a choice.
They realized they didn’t need the average salespeople when they had the top-quality salespeople, and that’s why a lot of dealers are still feeling the effect of people who don’t want to come back. There are people who want to sell cars but might not be good at it or perhaps they’re just lacking experience and want to try dealership work. But those people have either moved onto other jobs or simply have not come back to the industry.
Don’t be desperate—now is the time that dealers should be considering new technology and how it can afford them the ability to deliver a better customer experience. Not only that, but how can technology afford you the chance to improve the sales team that you do have? It’s no longer about taking whatever staff you can find. It’s about cultivating the staff you do have and embracing technology so that the salespeople have the best sales tools. That’s how you deliver the best customer experience.
The Role of Your CRM in Facilitating Transactions
The Internet is a research tool—an endless wealth of information uploaded to the World Wide Web and has connected people from around the world with all kinds of important data and insights. Today, however, the Internet has become a “doing” agent more than a “finding” agent. People aren’t just trying to find out about dealerships. They’re trying to find not only which vehicle is right for them but also which dealers they want to do business with online and complete transactions as quickly as possible.
More and more transactions are happening outside of the store. It’s time to stop facilitating leads and start facilitating transactions. You need to be able to get the trade appraisal, get the financing in place, get the information to the customer so they can make a buying decision, and do it all in a way that works for the customer, either online or in another format outside of the store. BUT, if you drop the ball and don’t engage the consumer quickly, they will go to a competitor that will.
The good news is that when it’s done right, your salespeople will be able to facilitate many more transactions. With the technology available from a modern CRM like PSX Digital, multiplying that volume is much easier because they can use the customer data and insights to choose the best leads to follow-up on and the best customers to focus on for retention while at the same time nurturing those customers who aren’t necessarily ready to buy NOW but are researching for a purchase that they are planning on. Think of that customer researching convertibles or jet skis in the winter. They want to buy. Just not right now.
Technology lets you do more, so that’s where the dealership industry needs to be focused right now: how can we be more efficient? The average powersports dealer sells 20 units a month right now. While that might have been enough in the past, they have to sell more today to even make money.