How to set expectations for your dealership in 2023 and beyond — Len Short

Many dealerships are struggling to set realistic expectations in the face of an unpredictable year.

Many dealerships are struggling to set expectations in the face of an unpredictable year. It is important for businesses to learn from experts who are at the forefront of industry innovations. LotLinx is an automotive retail focused platform that allows store owners to harness the power of artificial intelligence in their business. Len Short, the brand’s chairman and CEO, has a wealth of knowledge in the car selling business, and on this episode of Inside Automotive he joins host Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the tactics dealers should employ in 2023.

Short notes that automotive retailers have drifted away from foundational principles as they have adapted to economic shifts. While many changes have been welcome, he predicts that dealers will have to bring their staff, especially those who joined the business after 2020, up to speed on the industry’s demands. Updating expectations on sales numbers, customer satisfaction scores and service times to match the market will be requirements in 2023.

Short explains that when times are tough, the best store owners plan ahead, play aggressively and deploy strategies which attract consumers even if demand is low. Their pragmatism allows them to achieve success regardless of market changes. Meanwhile, other dealerships perform well enough when economic factors turn in their favor, but fail to set realistic expectations during downturns, losing their competitive edge as a result. As a market normalization begins to materialize in the coming months, Short believes that those same dealers who failed to set expectations in response to COVID pandemic, will again face hardship as their competitors offer promotions to take advantage of returning buyers. His advice is to anticipate an increase in demand and prepare strategies that will take advantage of customer interest rather than hinder it.

Dealerships have been especially challenged to adapt as automaker production output remained inconsistent throughout 2021 and 2022, causing prices and demand to fluctuate faster than they could keep track. However, with supply chain disruptions becoming rare and factories churning out new cars at neck-breaking speed, Short believes many dealers are exhibiting overly-cautious behavior. He notes that the industry has failed to address affordability, a major issue for car buyers, and have set expectations that are unreasonable for the economy. Short argues that now is the time for retailers to push deals aggressively, so that customers do not avoid their business when a cheaper option presents itself.

Retail technology has been neglected by car sellers for years. However, with new equipment, software and platforms that drastically speed up the car buying process, Short cautions that store owners can no longer ignore the advantages of innovation. Artificial intelligence can now price and merchandise vehicles accurately and immediately, direct online customers to cars based on priority and help dealers set expectations for their staff based on objective data. The future of auto-retailing will be unrecognizable from today, but those who take advantage of innovations now will have a head start in the race to the top.

This year promises to be another departure from the norm. However, while success is never guaranteed, fortune favors the prepared, and dealers will need to work hard to get set expectations for 2023. Short recommends store owners pay close attention to the trends of today so they can lead their businesses successfully through the market of the future.

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