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6 things your desking manager should do today

The return of a competitive vehicle market may be here sooner than you think. As a desking manager, don’t be taken by surprise.

In today’s retail environment where demand far outstrips supply, desking managers haven’t had to put together too many complex deals. After all, customers don’t have any negotiating leverage. You put a price on a car and that’s what a customer pays. If that customer balks, there’s another right behind ready to pay full price.

However, the chip crisis will abate and lots will be full of vehicles again. Is your desking manager ready to ramp up and ensure profitability on every sale? Skills that may have been dormant for the last couple of years will need to be front and center again.

In talking with desking managers at leading dealerships of various sizes, brands, and regions, I’ve learned what they’re doing to be ready for a competitive market and to perform at a high level. The following are six things desking managers can do today to hone their skills.

1. Audit integrations with your digital retailing platform

Customers expect your digital retailing tools to deliver accurate payment information. They assume you will honor the work they’ve done online. That’s why it’s so important to audit your digital retailing platform to ensure rates and terms match those in your desking solution. Transparency in financing and a stress-free experience is critical to earn customer trust and business. You can lose a sale, and take a hit to your store’s reputation, if an online customer who comes in to sign paperwork finds that you cannot meet the terms of the deal they’ve spent hours putting together on your website.  

2. Stay on top of used car trends and inventory levels

You do not want to be taken by surprise when the market stabilizes. Keep an eye on new vehicle days of supply as well as used vehicle pricing. Information will vary based on your brands. For example, Kia, Honda, and Toyota tied for the tightest inventory at the end of July, with only 20 days supply. 

pre-owned departmentMore: 4 tips to better manage your car dealership’s pre-owned department

3. Brush up on negative equity deals

As days supply normalizes and car prices come down, expect to see demand from customers who held onto used vehicles longer than they wanted. Also, customers who wanted new but bought used because that was all that was available. When used vehicle value drops, many of these customers may be in a negative-equity position. Brush up on creative ways to put together deals so you can help get customers into vehicles they can afford. 

4. Review your lending relationships

The pandemic and resulting shutdowns and layoffs led to credit-related hardships for many consumers. You may find more customers are credit-challenged. Now is the time to find or re-establish relationships with financial institutions that can take on sub-prime loans.   

5. Audit deal jackets

Routine auditing of deal jackets is a best practice all year round. Pull random delivered deals and focus on finance approvals and conditions. Is gross good? Are you missing deals because they weren’t set up properly? Pinpoint any problems and address them now with your sales team before the competitive market ramps up. This is also a good time to observe sales agents interacting with customers to help find coachable moments and training needs to elevate your store’s overall profitability. 

6. Explore mobile desking

Mobile desking has gained significant ground over the past couple of years, and for good reason. Sales associates armed with a tablet can work a deal with the customer on the showroom floor and push it to the desking manager for approval. This results in a more streamlined and transparent process for the consumer while giving the desking manager an efficient tool to optimize every dollar. The ability to structure profitability rules ensures sales can only wiggle the numbers so far so there’s less back and forth with numbers and a more streamlined experience for buyers. 

The return of a competitive vehicle market may be here sooner than you think. As a desking manager, don’t be taken by surprise. Adopt these six practices to brush up on skills and be ready to hit the ground running when supply and demand align once again.

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Michael Biasco
Michael Biasco
Michael Biasco is a senior product marketer at Elead/CDK Global. Biasco has over nine years of sales, marketing and operations experience in retail automotive, and has led numerous product initiatives from ideation through testing and commercialization.

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