Have you ever considered that setting up your dealership for success could be as simple as examining your habits? It may sound farfetched, but it’s true. Our habits have a big impact on daily life, both in and out of work.
Habits have been researched extensively for many years. In fact, this year marks the 31st anniversary of Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” There is a reason the book has sold 25 million copies—embracing these habits can change your life. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of different habits play out in the dealerships I’ve worked with, and I’ve picked up on which ones work.
Are you setting your dealership up for success? Here’s how you can do that with four habits.
1. Set Your Goal, Plan the Work, Then Work the Plan
Knowing your goals and clarifying them with the team is a critical step to success. Once the team knows your goals, they can proactively plan to achieve them. If your dealership has a goal to increase sales of a particular model, build your plan around that. With that goal in mind, leverage new data and technology to identify the most likely audiences to be interested in the model, then reach them with relevant messages that resonate and bring them into the showroom.
Using audience data will help car dealers answer telling questions like, “Who are the customers most likely to buy that model?” and “What is the best outlet to reach them?” Finding the answers to these questions and more will create an easier path to accomplish the end goal.
Tip: Identify what matters most to your dealership at the moment, whether that’s generating leads or selling more of a specific model. You can then build your plan around that.
2. Proactively Identify In-Market Shoppers
By definition, being proactive is simply taking command of a situation early on so that you can better control the outcome. For dealerships, this means reaching in-market customers as soon in the shopping process as possible.
For example, proactively connecting with a customer several months before their lease turn-in date can help a dealer get a customer back on the lot before the competition can woo them with an offer. Conversely, if you know when a competitor’s lease customers are close to turn-in dates, you can proactively reach out to them for potential conquests.
Tip: Work with a third-party partner who can help you leverage advanced technology to quickly and easily identify your audiences.
3. Fill a Need, Don’t Just Make a Sale
Life works better when everyone wins. For a dealer, this means putting a customer in a vehicle that they truly want and need at a price point that allows the dealership to make a profit.
Knowing who your customers are, what their lifestyles entail and what their true transportation needs are, will allow your dealership to craft highly relevant offers and messages. Basing these off of a deep understanding of customer lifestyles and life events will make the customer feel like you’re selling them the vehicle they need, rather than upselling. Ultimately, both the customer and the dealer win.
Today, dealers have data at their disposal that will help them understand the needs of their customers. Once these needs are understood, the right deal for the right customer with the right message can be developed. Ultimately, better understanding your customers makes for better marketing.
Tip: Rather than focusing on a mass audience , to increase marketing ROI , identify a few more personalized audiences to deliver messages that resonate.
4. Review What Happened, Refine the Next Plan
Dealers should always be striving for continuous improvement. To make that a reality, each time you achieve a goal or execute a campaign, it’s important to take a step back. Review what’s been completed, assess what changes need to be made and adjust strategies to make them even more successful moving forward.
Were messages relevant? Were the right customers in the right zip codes reached? Did inventory match the wants and needs of the local market? Taking time to analyze all these angles, then making adjustments during the next sales cycle will continuously improve a dealer’s efforts.
Tip: Work with a trusted third-party partner when conducting measurement. They can point out unexpected ways to improve your plans that you may not have seen.
Habits only work if you put in the work–they don’t happen overnight. Additionally, in the dealership setting, these habits need to be embraced and internalized by the entire team. The best place to start? Make a plan. Once you have a plan, you’re already setting your dealership up for success, and well on your way to establishing habits that will take your sales to new heights.14
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