COO Ed Roberts discusses shifting to a pre-order model at Bozard Ford Lincoln

Almost everyone in retail automotive is experiencing or talking about high-profit margins and low vehicle inventory. On this edition of Inside Automotive, we’re talking to Ed Roberts, Chief Operations Officer of Bozard Ford Lincoln, about the best practices that are making his dealership successful today.

In light of low new vehicle inventory, Bozard Ford Lincoln shifted its focus to a pre-order strategy and turned to the used vehicle market to close gaps in profitability. The low supply has driven prices up across the board and forces car dealerships to get more creative with their acquisition strategies. Bozard Ford Lincoln is no exception. The dealership utilizes Facebook Marketplace and similar platforms to generate as many opportunities to strengthen the business as possible. According to Roberts, the new strategies are worth continuing as new vehicles come back to more typical levels. Although ideally, new car inventory will only come back to a 20-30 day supply.

The shift to a pre-order model hasn’t been easy, says Roberts. Salespeople have to transform from closers to order processors. To make the transition smoother, Roberts says the dealership implemented performance incentives and other goal-setting contests. Some models that are pre-ordered have approximately 85%, while other models are in the low 70s. The key to ensuring that customers go through with the delivery is to keep them excited while they wait. Give your customers step-by-step updates to reinforce their enthusiasm. When the communication stops, customers tend to look elsewhere in the meantime.

The fixed ops department is getting a lot of attention at the dealership as well. Customers are keeping their vehicles longer, and Roberts says that his business is growing double digits and setting records every month. However, Roberts feels like there are still opportunities being left on the table. It’s an exciting time for the dealership, he says.

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