While spring has given way to summer, it’s never too late to take that spring-cleaning mindset and review your old systems, staff, vendors, equipment and software. It’s also a great time to evaluate your Business Development Center (BDC).
Taking advantage of prospective leads for your dealership and business should be a non-negotiable practice. Whether it be a lead on employees, vendors, new locations, marketing techniques or sales tips, your dealership should utilize all the leads that are presented. Prospecting leads means you are following up in a timely manner in order to ensure that your dealership is not missing out on a valuable asset and opportunity.Social media plays a huge role in helping to generate leads for your dealership. Not only do you get a chance to develop your brand on a large digital platform, you also get to network with other people in the industry. Leads may also present themselves in the form of something like an online survey you ask customers to fill out regarding your business after you have served them. This gives your customer the space to let you know not only what you can improve on, but a potential lead about what they may be seeking from your dealership in the future.Be sure that your staff is regularly attending industry events and conferences because it puts them in an environment to network with other people who know the industry. Other professionals may have feedback about new leads or up-to-date information that may be pertinent to your dealership. Making a habit to network, ask questions and follow up will set your team up for success when a lead becomes available.
Your BDC is the heart of your operation. With the help of your sales team and internal staff, your BDC should be reflected to customers each day. From a sales standpoint, it is crucial to hire a team full of self-starters who are motivated to exceed sales goals and upsell when a customer brings their vehicle to be serviced at your dealership.Finding employees who bring innovative and effective new ideas to your dealership is also valuable. For example, someone on my team recently told the staff at a meeting that she sends “thank you” cards to each and every customer who comes in to their location. It was recommended that she find out the birthday of customers, and not only send them a “thank you” card following up after their visit, but sending them yearly birthday cards with coupons to our location as well. The coupons have proven to be an excellent idea, because it ensures the customer will come back to use it, thus creating an increase in customer retention. This member of my team reflects our entire company with each card she sends out, and has taken the initiative to be an outstanding team member by her small but powerful gesture. These are the kind of team members your dealership should be seeking — employees who take it one step further.Frontline Ready Products
A good rule of thumb when it comes to making a sale, whether it be a car or smaller products your dealership offers is asking yourself if the product you are selling is something you would sell to your mother (or spouse, friend etc.) If the answer is “no,” then why are you trying to sell it to your customers? You should view selling products to your customers in the same light that you would when selling to a family member or close friend. You want to give people you care about the best of the best, and customers who rely on top quality should be no exception to that.
The reputation of your dealership is reflected directly in the products you sell to your customers. If you sell something that was not frontline ready, you risk that the customer may never come back to your dealership — and will tell all his or her friends and family about the experience. Customer retention is critical to helping your sales and profit margins increase.
Your BDC should never be overlooked, especially as you strive to consistently maintain your daily operations and sales. Be sure to take the time to look for ways your dealership could improve your BDC. Make your dealership shine like the summer sun.
Ray Harcum – National Sales Director For Colors On Parade