How to Skyrocket Sales and Profits During a Build-Out

construction worker holding hard hat

Exciting…hectic…stressful…these are just a few of the things you many feel during the emotional roller coaster ride of a build-out. It’s natural to feel these things; renovating a dealership is a big job with lots of moving pieces and parts. But the light at the end of the tunnel is so bright it makes it all worth it in the end, right?

Regrettably, the last thing most dealers or managers are thinking about during this stressful time is increasing sales and profitability. Just completing the project with minimal causalities is the primary objective.

Many dealers think that at the completion of the build-out there will be a flood of traffic and new business. Frankly, traffic often decreases during the construction phase due to the dust, clutter, and commotion. But dealers are still optimistic that afterward, people will come rushing into the beautiful new space. Unfortunately, the reality is quite the opposite. The movie mantra, “If you build it, they will come,” does not apply to car dealerships.

Things may seem stressful during a build-out, but many dealers we talk to become even more stressed afterward. Often, it seems, traffic volume after a renovation doesn’t live up to their expectations. And now, with a larger nut to crack every month in overhead, profitability begins to suffer. So while conventional wisdom suggests you shouldn’t do much marketing or pile on more changes during a build-out, the opposite advice is more likely to deliver the end result dealers are hoping for when they begin a build-out project.

Here are a few helpful hints on “making it rain” while you’re buried in a build-out.

Implement change when change is already occurring.

There is no better time to do something new than when change is already occurring and justified by something as significant as a build- out. The entire store is in flux during the renovations and at the end of the process everyone realizes that they will need to adjust to the new surroundings and make changes to their daily activities. This is the time when employees will be most receptive to new ideas and implementing new strategies. Taking advantage of this period of unrest by instituting new processes, marketing strategies and even introducing a new vision and culture into the store is a smart play and can be worth a fortune to a dealership in the long run.

Create internal excitement.

Most dealers believe that a build out should be used to create excitement externally. But the reality is that the majority of people in the community rarely care about the size or condition of your facility unless they are there to shop. The people who do care are your employees and past customers. It is with these people that creating and leveraging excitement can give you a boost in sales and profitability.

Boost traffic.

A herculean effort should be made to increase traffic to the dealership during a build-out in order to keep the sales level and staff morale up. Sales can easily drop during this time and be excused away by the current conditions. This is dangerous, because it allows employees to get sloppy and start to accept lesser results, and then profits start to drop off even further. Increasing traffic keeps everyone on their toes; it keeps skills honed, focus sharp and morale high. Then, when the build-out is complete, the new traffic strategies you’ve implemented while the building was under construction will work double duty at your bright and shiny new facility.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are leading experts on attracting customers, are the co-authors of Invasion of the Profit Snatchers, and founders of Rich Dealers®. Get a free copy of their new book at—use coupon code DMM1209.

Michael Bowen


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