Dealers: I'm giving away a unique strategy you can deploy yourself here.
David Bustle's Dealer Profit's Blog.
The #1 way to secure your management position at your dealership.
(Secret: This could save your tail from getting the ol' walking papers at your dealership)
No one likes to talk about it. However, I see it every day on my feed on LinkedIn.
Dealership managers seeking a new opportunity.
It happens at least two to three times per week. I'll call on a new prospective GM I see an opportunity to work with and then out of nowhere... I'll get this awkward response from the receptionist:
"Ugh... I'm sorry Mr. _________ is no longer with us. Would you like to talk to ________ our new GM?"
Some left due to finding a better dealership opportunity, but many were replaced and lost their positions for whatever reason.
Now... they have to find a new dealership to call home.
Unfortunately for them, there is a limited amount of dealerships to work for in ANY given area.
So I feel for them. I can only imagine what's going through their head...
The feeling of dread that they have let their family down.
They went from living one lifestyle, now they have no way to support it.
It sucks majorly for them when this happens.
Many will have to uproot their spouses and kids, sell their house and find a new location just to earn like they once did. Some will downgrade and opt for a lesser position since there aren't that many available in their area.
Others will drive hours every day to find a new home.
I want YOU as a reader of my blog to be prepared though.
I want to help you secure your positions at your dealership. So let's dive in...
Yes, of course, you need the fundamentals:
- Solid Inventory & Pricing: You need the right cars, that your market wants to buy, in your area. It needs to be priced to earn profits. Your inventory is important. If you end up with a bunch of inventory no one wants... you'll be in a bad spot and unable to move it while it takes up funds. Select strategically as much as possible for your market.
- Solid Team: You need good people behind you. The better your team, the better your sales. Invest in them. They are your front lines dealing with customers, recruit, and train well. Hold them accountable. I've seen many dealers hang on to bad apples when they should have let them go a long time ago.
- Solid Processes: You need a smooth process. Look at your customer's pain points for buying from you and solve them. Be your own customer and fix what frustrates you. Make it as easy and pleasurable to do business with your dealership as possible.
Most GMs think these three factors are the most important for ensuring success and securing their positions.
However, it's not the best way to secure your position.
While these are all absolutely important in their own way, they don’t matter unless you fix one other thing FIRST.
I've seen plenty of dealerships that have great staff, solid inventory and great processes that can't hit numbers.
So what is the one factor that the most successful general managers out there have that many GM's neglect?
If you haven’t already guessed it, it's being able to generate customers on demand each month for your dealership.
A MAJOR core focus of you as GM should be on opportunity generation.
The way you sell a car IS by having an opportunity to work.
Yet, it is often the one thing completely neglected, leaving dealers to wonder why they aren't growing and hitting goals.
I haven't seen many dealers that struggle that also have plenty of opportunities.
The ones struggling to make sales are the ones with empty showrooms.
The ones that get put on the chopping block are there because they aren't generating income for the dealership.
"To ensure success, you need to be able to generate a consistent and abundant flow of opportunities because that is where your sales stem from."
Without a customer to sell to, it doesn't matter how great ANY other aspect of your dealership is. Sure they are important... but they don't even have the chance to work.
It doesn't matter how great your sales team is if they have no one to work and sell a car to.
It doesn't matter how smooth your process is if there aren't customers to go through it.
It doesn't matter how awesome your inventory is if no one knows it exists.
The ability to generate customers on-demand and in abundance is the KEY to ensuring success.
You can still sell cars with bad salespeople.
You'll still make sales with a rough process.
Heck, you can still make a sale with zero inventory (locating cars for customers).
You can't, however, make any sales without a hungry customer ready to buy.
Consistent customer acquisition should be at the top of your priorities because everything else is dependent on it. It should be just as important as inventory, process and staff.
I see GMs get pulled every day in a thousand directions. They are constantly waking up to new problems to fix. They spend a lot of time ensuring their guys are doing the right things, putting out fires etc.
So they often outsource their marketing, use turn-key solutions or throw money at the problem of customer acquisition. They don't spend much time vetting, planning, strategizing on the one thing that determines everything else.
They think, "I've got a company that's just handling that for me."
The only problem is that they aren't.
I see a lot of my competition's "solutions."
I can tell you that it's really bad out there and much of it doesn't do much to help you.
Take the test:
Pull up your analytics. See the traffic report you have. See how you got lots of clicks to your site? Now compare that with how many ups you have at your dealership. Notice a problem?
There is a big wide margin, right? So how effective is the traffic they are sending?
Now compare all of that traffic with how many sales you can track from it. Can you even track it?
These cookie-cutter solutions are built by marketers to scale. Vendors want solutions they can replicate over and over again. They often aren't in your best interest and they often don't produce real results.
I was talking with a GM that got an email from a direct mail company advocating he sign up for a lease mailer.
Only one problem... he is only 20% lease. This is what his advisor was advising him to do. His market is primarily a buyers market.
It's bad out there with the crap they are peddling to you.
Why do you think they all want you to run ads driving traffic to your website versus ads designed to set up appointments? It's because you can't track it.
You are too busy to figure it out, so you often stay funding solutions that aren't doing much for you without realizing it.
They prey on the one thing you don't have: Time. They prey on the fact that you don't pay attention and just go for the sale.
You've got to get involved. Get active in your marketing, because it's drastically important to your success as a dealer.
GMs must manage not just for today but also for tomorrow, because it comes too.
Your harvest comes from the seeds you plant in the past. You only get what you put in the ground. That can either be empowering or devastating at the same time.
The largest metric you are judged on is sales. Sales stem from your efforts to get the word out about your dealership through advertising and marketing.
You will be held responsible for the profit you create at the dealership. That's where your core efforts should lie.
The thing that troubles me is that it often only becomes a factor for some reason when it's too late for the GM.
The GM has had a string of bad months, bad sales and needs something fast to fix their numbers. They want a push-button solution. In reality, it's a bandaid covering up a bullet hole wound.
It buys them time then they have the same issue a few months later.
They see demand one minute and gone the next. It's chaos.
They should have been focused on this from the start.
Ever seen a dealer struggle that has a ton of opportunity flowing through?
Of course, it can be argued in multiple ways. David, why invest in marketing and advertising if my people are going to screw it up when they get here?
It's important to fix all that other stuff too. I'm not downplaying the other aspects of your dealership as not important. Don't get me wrong here.
One thing is for sure though... if you don't have a customer, nothing else matters. You don't get the chance to BE a dealer. You don't have the opportunity to even sell a car.
As the manager of your dealership, if you want to secure your position, you've got to get opportunity generation down and make it a core focus.
It shouldn't be something to just throw money at. It shouldn't be something to leave up to chance. You need to get involved in it. You need to understand it.
I see dealers get so distracted and interrupted on all these other aspects of their dealerships that they end up neglecting the very thing that is imperative to their success... generating opportunities.
I spoke with a dealer a few months ago that told me he was selling 70 cars a month and wanted to jump to 100 within 3 months. I asked him what his plan was to get there.
He mentioned everything other than opportunity generation.
"I've got a good team now.'
"I've worked hard on getting the right inventory."
I brought up the fact that everything he did before to attract leads and traffic is what got him to the 70. If he wanted to jump to 100 he would have to do something, in addition, to raise up those numbers.
I knew he needed to have way more opportunities. He stated he didn't want to spend any more money.
I asked him if he thought that the reason he was plateaued at 70 was that he wasn't focused on generating more opportunities in attracting customers with advertising.
"I don't think that's the issue." He told me.
I pressed again. "The only way for you to sell more cars is to have more opportunities. So without more chances or "at-bats" how will you sell more cars?"
He thought that just because he had his inventory right, he would magically attract more people.
I told him he wouldn't ever get to his goal and the reason he was staying stuck was that he didn't know how to get attention and generate opportunities.
It pissed him off and he hung up.
Apparently, I struck a nerve.
Two months later I called back and discovered he was no longer there.
He had been replaced.
Ever notice how the strong dealers in your market are often the biggest advertisers?
Look at everything they do to attract customers and generate attention and opportunity.
If you want your dealership to rock and your position to be rock solid... you need to be focused on how to get a steady flow of customers.
Want help? I help dealerships generate sales opportunities on demand. I can help your dealership get consistent leads and appointments through innovative marketing and paid ads. Want to know more? Set up a strategy session with David Bustle today.
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