Getting distracted at work regardless of the job is an extremely common occurrence, but it can have consequences and affect business. Of course, basic distractions include texting, gossiping, unnecessary meetings, and intentionally avoiding customers, but distractions go much farther than that. Auto dealerships can be hit hard by distractions, and it is important to take measures to prevent them.
Business Plans and Goals
A vital yet often overlooked component of managing any entity, especially a dealership, is spending time to create a business plan and establish goals. Income and the number of sales are obviously very important, but so are other things including customer relations and budget-related decisions. Simply setting an income goal and focusing on that is not enough, and more time needs to be spent considering other factors.
Part of this business plan should include making transactions as quick as possible. As with any business, if something takes an extremely long time, customers will leave. Brian Solis of Forbes reported that smartphones and tablets offer “instant gratification” that consumers have begun to expect, even in interpersonal interactions. Buyers don’t like having to wait to talk to several different dealership employees or sign an exorbitant amount of paperwork, so developing a streamlined sales method can get customers in and out the door quicker. This removes mundane technicalities and distractions and therefore provides dealerships the ability to handle more business.
Following Up with Customers
One of the most prominent auto-marketing providers, AutoLoop reported that many dealerships are failing to “follow up in a timely matter.” They found that 53% of car shoppers reported they did not receive any type of follow-up from the dealership. This is a stark contrast to the common notion that car salespeople are “pushy” and “annoying.” Instead of solely focusing on the people who are present in the dealership, following up on leads and prospective buyers is crucial to not only maintain relationships with customers but also increase the likelihood of a purchase being made.
Sometimes, dealerships may be so focused on making sales on-site that they ignore online leads. Many consumers, especially the younger generation, tend to prefer to use the Internet as a starting point of communication. Failure to track these leads and follow up on them can end up to lost customers. Investing part of the budget into a good customer relationship management (CRM) system can really increase a dealership’s ability to pursue online leads.
Similarly, instead of focusing solely on making the sales, budgeting for advertising and marketing is a crucial move to make. Repairs and maintenance are a huge part of many dealerships’ success, so making sure to invest in great technicians and supplies is also important.
Determine What Is Important to Individual Customers
Nobody can deny that the technologies offered in new cars are extremely convenient and attractive, but dealerships can get caught up in trying to go “too digital.” Many car buyers, especially those of the older generations, don’t need the newest gadgets and might even prefer a more “basic” level of technology. Instead of focusing on selling the most expensive vehicles with technology packages, dealerships could benefit greatly from taking a step back and getting to know what each consumer is truly wanting.
Though work-life balance is important to everyone, customers’ needs should be considered, which include simple details such as dealerships’ hours. Of course, dealerships probably wouldn’t benefit being open 24/7 like the Internet is, but longer and/or “better” hours may be better for business. This includes evening hours so that customers can come later and not have to take time off of work.
Focus on Employees Too
Finally, the management teams at dealerships must also be flexible and understand that their employees may need some motivation. Employees who feel like they are valued and can make a career out of their positions usually work harder and are able to gain and retain customers. Instead of focusing on the numbers, paying attention to the employees’ needs can help them be successful and ensure that business keeps booming.