CommentaryNov 25th, 2020

Your Plan B in the Middle of a Rising Tide


Contrary to popular belief, our industry did not crash and burn during the depths of the pandemic recession. As an industry, we found new ways to bring touchless delivery to customers, we introduced white glove services to customers across the board, we took our stores to digital overnight. 

As a result of our great industry's ingenuity, we are now experiencing a quickly rising tide. Gross is as high as it's ever been, low supply and emerging markets are pushing sales to new heights, and there is a sense of prosperity across the nation. And while I am certainly thrilled to see the way our industry is rebounding, as physicists say, "What goes up, must come down." 

Is Your Plan B Ready? 

While no one could have guessed a pandemic would close our economy, we can predict what will happen next. The pandemic created a high demand for vehicles, and as a result, sales surged when dealerships came back online. Add waning inventory and a slowdown in production at the OEM level, and you have the perfect drivers of a booming sales cycle. 

Fast forward to today, manufacturers are now saying they are producing more vehicles than they were in February of this year before COVID shut dealerships across the country down. Dealers are seeing fewer people running to sign up for their first car because that first surge from the summer has mostly dried up. 

car dealer sales 2020

The surge is gone, the low inventory is gone. Many dealerships are now faced with the question of how they will differentiate themselves from the dealers in their market to conquest more sales. How will your store hold more gross, sell more cars, and do better in your finance department?

The answer lies within your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and the ability to bring additional value to the customers walking in your doors today. 

Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition

The easiest and quickest way to promote value is to understand and commit to your USP, which we know must be something other than price.

Now is an excellent time to get your team together and brainstorm ideas for a new USP. Perhaps your new USP is a lifetime warranty program or free oil changes for life, or free roadside assistance. What separates your store might be the number of awards it has won or how long it's been an integral part of the local community. 

Whatever you decide is your USP, your messaging about that brand promise must be consistent across your dealership--both online and in the store. Your USP should become the driving force behind your culture. 

Bringing the Value 

Once you have determined and established your USP, It's time to bring the value. I believe value instead of price can distinguish your store. One of the best opportunities a dealership has to separate itself while ensuring a purchased vehicle's reliability is through the warranties it offers. 

It's important to look for the best warranty programs and use those programs to drive more business. Instead of looking at just price, these dealers choose to work with a quality warranty program that offers training and marketing. They promote their warranty program at every touchpoint in the store and in their advertising. 

In this way, the dealership is establishing value that will outride any surge. By giving customers more than they expect, and promoting it in your training, your culture, and across your store, you're setting your team up for a lifetime customer. 

While we have been riding a wave of good news recently with all of the wins in automotive, it's important to take this time to look at what sets you apart from competitors. What is your USP, and how can you make it work to bring additional opportunities into your store? 

How can you set yourself up now to not just bring in business when we're in the middle of a rising tide, but to bring the value when that tide is also on its way out? 

Authored by

David Adcock

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