Most, if not all, dealers were forced to reduce headcount in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantines that followed. One Ford store reduced its headcount from 140 to 60. Such staff cuts might seem a bit drastic — but perhaps they’re not.
Dealers are sharpening operations in many ways, not only to cope with pandemic-driven changes but also for the long-term benefit of the organization.
For example, many are finding ways to do more with less. For some, this enforced extensive reliance on online sales has identified unnecessary management levels. Dealerships are finding that empowered sales associates are handling the road to the sale and finance with customers without TO involvement.
Another efficiency gain might save you from having to staff up again completely. Smart selling techniques — using logical and physical time-to-line workflow software — not only lock-in efficiency but also land buyers the first time they call.
Our data shows that dealers who can leverage this relation close two out of three used car leads. This conversion ratio drops to one of three in situations where these sales advantages are not available.
Until recently, no one recognized that there are hidden pockets of delay and waste existing in the two critical workflows necessary to sell cars profitably today: the logical and the physical. Tighter control here reduces the lag time between when your dealership buys cars and when you sell them. The closer this gap is, the better control you have of lead conversion.
• Logical workflow describes clearly defined and measurable tasks. Reconditioning workflow is called logical because it involves immediately identifiable and quantifiable steps and functions along a process continuum from Point A to Point B. This starts when a vehicle is logged into the reconditioning process and ends when it reaches sale-ready status.
• Physical workflow is now also measurable and trackable. Tracking the physical workflow of vehicles through your dealership — to vendors, on test drives or when stored remotely — is crucial. Knowing where every car (and its keys) are at any moment helps you sell them faster.
There are opportunities all along these two workflows to improve speed-to sale opportunities to a dealership:
• Faster recon moves your inventory to sale-ready status quicker so you can sell it sooner for more margin — usually within three to five days of acquisition.
• Giving faster access to the selling information about your inventory equips and empowers your sales associates to address customer questions without have to call them back or worse, having to put them on hold! When your staff has access to this vital information, lead conversion more than doubles.
Having faster vehicle and key location controls ensures asset security. It ends the frustration and time-consuming search for cars and their keys when most needed — when a customer is in the showroom waiting for a test drive.
The best way we’ve found to describe these advantages is by the phrase, “Know it, find it, sell it.”
By leveraging both workflows, dealers turn more inventory, sell more cars than they need to stock and serve online and in-store customers speedily, thoroughly and professionally. With the right tools, a smaller dealership staff can serve customers better than ever before.