The spread of COVID-19 has dramatically altered the automotive industry, not just the impact on revenue, but also how we all will do business going forward. Particularly in the buy-here-pay-here space, it necessitated a rapid shift to a heavier reliance on technology to complete a sale.
I hear from franchise owners in my company’s system how beneficial the support of a franchise network has been since March of this year. In fact, I’d argue that many would have struggled far worse than they might have without the support of the network, potentially closing operations.
The franchise system’s marketing capabilities have been invaluable during the last few months. Whether it is the rapid creation of new content and marketing assets, from new television ads to new signage, the resources from a centralized marketing department have made a world of difference.
The speed at which the franchise supports the dealerships and assists to inform customers across the country has been lightning quick. Customized emails and quickly updated websites have alerted local customers with the latest changes in hours and operations. Even now, as many of our dealerships reopen, we’re able to let customers know about new inventory hitting the lot in real-time.
Legal & Regulatory Support
Raise your hand if you’ve filled out any of the application packages for the assistance made available from state and federal governments aimed at supporting businesses? Undoubtedly, you know the difficulty that can come with filing paperwork. In auto sales, you certainly see the required paperwork on a daily basis for selling cars. Having access to the years of experience of a shared legal, compliance and finance team has made applications immeasurably easier for franchise owners. The same support team has been able to advise on modifications to the sales process, allowing for remote sales while strictly maintaining legal compliance.
Sharing of Best Practices
One of the key selling points of a franchise is sharing. Shared costs for sure, but the best practices shared by other owners truly is the incalculable return on investment. Your business benefits from the combined decades of success and failure of others. The stress of a pandemic has really highlighted the benefits of sharing best practices between fellow owners. Will Tactic A or Strategy B work? Odds are someone else is already making that idea work and the corporate support team is finding a way to get that information out to the larger body.
Health & Safety Support
The immediate panic many business owners may have faced as mid-March and April changes occurred made staying up on every bit of important information a full-time job. One more benefit of the franchise system is the dedicated team of professionals at the headquarters who are focused on key areas while your operations are rapidly changing.
The service team, for instance, is staying up on the latest safety guidelines to protect service technicians and returning customers alike. The same can be said for a contactless sales process that minimizes risk at the dealership.
Staying up to date may feel like you’re keeping an infinite number of balls in the air, but it doesn’t have to be. The support of a franchise system lightens the load for all, in all facets of the business.