Your Dealership’s New Year Resolutions

Published: Dec 29, 2014
New Year Resolutions for auto dealers

Auto dealers: have you drafted your New Year’s resolutions? It’s high time you set your goals for next year, so that 2015 brings you the growth you seek, and the success you deserve.

We can safely say that 2014 was a stabilizing year for the industry. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) forecast of 16.4 million car sales turned out quite accurate. The overall economic situation is improving too, with lower unemployment, interest rates and gasoline prices.

While we’re waiting for the sales statistics for the months behind us, NADA has already made the prediction for next year: new car sales are expected to reach 16.94 million.

Do you want to be one of the dealerships that will boost this number? Then roll your sleeves and map your 2015 resolutions. Success starts with imagining the way up!

Get Financing and Grow

The fastest way to jumpstart your dealership in 2015 is to consider additional financing. While it involves a certain level of risk, it’s a great way to fuel your business for wider reach and faster development.

You can chart a few different paths here. One option is to get financing for a specific goal, such as buying real estate or increasing your inventory. If you’ve been renting your showroom and office space, you must be sick of paying your monthly lease of $15,000 or more. That’s why buying your own property is a great way to step up your game. Commercial banking solutions can be a big help here.

Floorplan financing, on the other hand, is another specific goal you might want to focus on. This means you can get short-term loans to acquire more inventory. You just need to make sure you’re quick to sell, so that you don’t pay too much towards interest rates. There are financial companies who specifically offer floorplanning options, so they’re the best choice for this.

Besides borrowing from institutions, you can also consider peer-to-peer lending. The loans are usually smaller, but they can still be quite useful for specific business goals.
So instead of leaving your business to stagnate around the same level, give it a boost with a solid financial injection. With the current lower interest rates on the market, now’s the best time to invest in growth.

Save on Costs

Make a resolution to save money, auto dealers

To make the best of your existing budget, or additional financing, brainstorm ways in which you can make savings on even the most indispensable costs. This is especially relevant when you know the true costs of opening an auto dealership.

One of the ways to save money is actually to be very prudent…with your money. Keeping a good credit score is crucial for lowering your yearly (or bi-yearly) licence renewal costs such as auto dealer bonds and insurance. If you’re considered a high-risk applicant for surety bonds or insurance, you will be charged about five times higher percentage of the premium.

Another important way to boost savings is related to floorplanning, if you’re using this financing option. The trick here is to sell the inventory that you’ve bought with the short-term loan as quickly as possible. Besides bringing you direct revenue fast, as mentioned earlier, this also helps you avoid high interest rates.

But how to sell more cars, faster? You need to step up with your marketing efforts and your sales methods…

Enter the Marketing Game

We’ll join the chorus preaching about the benefits of good marketing for your business. While you’ve heard this already, it’s important to understand the way your potential customers function. When it comes to millennials, who are the new target customers for dealerships, being online means everything – and even more so in 2015.

That’s why your dealership’s online presence is crucial for success with this customer group. Your website and its mobile version are first on the list. Then comes your presence on social media channels – and actively listening to and engaging with users there.

Social listening is a great way to stay on top of consumer trends. It means what it says – just paying attention to what people comment on and enjoy. Then you’ll be more prepared to give them what they want in your showroom. That’s why it pays off to have dedicated marketing staff – or training yourself and your salesmen in the basics.

Align Sales and Service with Marketing

Tips for selling to millennials for auto dealers

Adapting to the reality of today’s market that cherishes the millennial customer means that your sales tactics need to be aligned with your marketing efforts too. The well-informed and often skeptical new buyer expects no less than a direct approach from today’s car salesmen. So, how to sell to millennials in 2015?

We covered the first step in the previous section on marketing and being online. Your millennial customers have surely researched everything on the web and have pinpointed their preferences for a car. They’re likely to know quite a lot about the vehicles already. They’ve also checked your dealership’s website and maybe they’ve even engaged with your brand on social media – to ask a question or comment on a product.

What millennials need from you in the showroom is, actually, stellar service and a sharp, insightful comparison between car options. This means that you need to give them something that they can’t find online. It’s the only chance to impress them – and win them over. Once you’ve made the sale, don’t forget to follow up on social media. This is your chance to turn your customers into great brand ambassadors who will boost your dealership’s reputation online – and offline.

So, auto dealers, what are your New Year resolutions? We would be delighted to learn about them in the comments section below. Sharing is caring!

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Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served as a logistics officer during a combat tour to Afghanistan. and as an officer in charge of an Iraqi Police Transition Team during a subsequent tour to Iraq. Later, he was assigned to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, serving as Assistant Professor of Naval Science and Marine Officer Instructor. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.