In the fourth quarter, forecasting becomes tougher with seasonality and holidays. You never know when that blizzard or hurricane can hit, so it is always good idea to reserve a staffed event — either as an avenue to move old inventory, get that shot in the arm to make up a deficiency in sales tracking or get a little more than your fair share. Staffed events can often have the greatest impact in months with the greatest uncertainty.
With many dealerships, the idea of utilizing a staffed event carries with it an uncomfortable stigma in even the most certain of months. In order to sell yourself on the concept in the fourth quarter, try using the old Ben Franklin close. On one side of the paper list the pros, and on the other side list the cons. This is how it typically washes out:
- Higher PVR
- Incremental traffic boost
- Sell a lot of units in a short period of time
- Liquidate old-age inventory without a loss
- Massive increase in back-end product penetrations and PVR
- Enhance staff morale through the increase in sales opportunities
- Fixed operation growth
- Massive amount of leads to follow-up after event
- Chargebacks after sale
- The unknowns:
- 1) How will they treat my customers?
- 2) Are they dependable and organized?
- 3) How will the sale turn out?
Admittedly, there are a lot more pros, but they are easily torpedoed by the cons. However, it’s your dealership — control the controllable. Concerned about chargebacks? Conduct an exit interview in the finance office at the time of delivery where the dealership’s business manager reviews the sales transaction and, most important, fills out the “we-owe” or due bill with the customer.
As far as the unknowns, set and manage your expectations. Again, it is your dealership and you can control the unknown factors.
Demand that the company you partner with address your concerns before you schedule an event. A good partner will have made it a standard business practice that the day prior to the event their team will meet with the staff at the dealership for sale setup. They should also meet directly with the dealer or executive management staff and encourage them to review store policies, from where to park to the dealership’s mission statement to the car wash process at time of delivery. It may sound simple, but it works. The key is to let the team know what the standards in your world are and that they are not up for negotiation.
We went through this process with our first and longtime client at the onset of our business relationship and we did great business for years until he decided to sell the store and ride off into the sunset. This is what he told me about his experience with the success of staffed events: “In our depressed, coal-reliant economy, over a two-year period we consistently sold over 80 cars per sale with zero problems, enabling me to sell the store for much more than the market predicated.”
In closing, as with any endeavor that may affect your business, do your due diligence — call all available references, check the BBB, review the depth of their Website, check out their social media, Google them and make sure to clearly set parameters when you get ready to kick off.
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