5 Key Tips For Conquering More Market Share At Your Dealership

Being a successful car dealership is much more than attracting customers, efficiency among your departments, and selling cars. Those are all the basics any dealer can tell you are necessary to run a dealership business. We’re talking about knowing your market, which means understanding who you are marketing to instead of assuming everyone is a customer. That won’t do you any good if you aren’t able to meet their wants and needs. 

Here are five tips on how any dealership can conquer their market: 

1. Leverage Your Geography: A car dealership based in southern California is going to have a different market than one in northern Vermont. That’s why you want to make sure your inventory accurately reflects the area you are located in. From there, you can create promotional events and sales specifically for that region. For example, a Winter Clearance event on all 4-wheel drive pickups and SUVs would do well in Vermont, but may not make sense in sunny California.

2. Make Sure Sales Knows Your Inventory Inside And Out: In the 1950s, car makers did a great job educating their salesmen on how to sell against the competition. They developed training materials, crib sheets, and other sales aids. This is a lost art these days and is nonexistent with used cars. If your sales team took the time to look up the models in your inventory and study the safety features, performance, and options, they will come across as experts in the models they are selling, build buyer confidence and close more deals. You’ll have a better idea of what your customers want, and as a result, it’ll affect what cars you choose to have on your lot.

3. Study Customer Demographics: By having a better understanding of who the majority of your customers are, you can also determine the right cars to sell. What is the average age of your customers? Are they single professionals or families? By knowing who your customer is, you’re able to make the car buying process less of a transaction and more of an enjoyable experience by perfectly matching a car to your customers based on who they are and what their wants and needs are.

4. Have the Right Cars Ready: Knowing what your customers want will help inform your acquisition decisions, but even acquiring the right vehicle won’t help if you don’t have ready and available when the customer arrives. Your make-ready process needs to be in sync with your sales operation, to ensure the cars you need are ready and available. Keep your reconditioning operation efficient to ensure your cars are frontline-ready when you need them. Management software from companies such as AutoMobile Technologies can help keep your recon employees and vendors focused and fast.

5. Create Customer Loyalty: Dealerships can create customer loyalty in several different ways. Where a lot of dealerships fail in this department is by letting customers go as soon as they drive away in their new car. As a result, there’s a negative stigma surrounding car dealerships assuming a dealer only cares about a customer to get the sale. If you want to conquer your market, show how much you appreciate your customers (including previous ones) by sending emails, service coupons, follow up calls, and more. If a dealership goes out of its way to make a former customer feel valued, they’ll remember and let people know. 

Conquering your market as a dealership is not as simple as target advertising and selling an SUV to a couple who are expanding their family. It’s about connecting with the area you serve and creating a relationship with your customers that is far more valuable than any sale. After all, customer loyalty is one of the most useful things any business can have. Although you can’t buy customer loyalty, you can conquer your market and establish a name for yourself in the area you serve. Follow the above tips and stay consistent, and you’ll become the dealership to beat.

Dealer Metrics Graph

6 Crucial Metrics Every Used Car Dealer Should Track

As you’re gathering everything you need to evaluate your dealership’s performance, what are the metrics that matter most?

Dealership team

Why Cultivating A Great Dealership Culture Benefits Your Dealership

  • Performance
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Hiring

As soon as a customer walks inside your dealership doors, they’ll be able to instantly tell whether it’s a welcoming environment or if they’re about to be eaten whole by salespeople after their money. It permeates from every employee and ultimately affects your customers in an undeniable way. 

We’re talking about company culture: the very essence of what determines a dealership’s success and your customer’s satisfaction. New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuck, once said, “company culture is the backbone of any successful organization.” If you look at the highest-performing dealerships, they have effectively established an influential culture that can withstand the possible triggers of a poor dealership culture. Some common examples would be: 

  • Changes in management, sometimes resulting in disrespect to employees who aren’t in leadership positions. 
  • New hires who are unskilled, making seasoned employees feel disregarded and unmotivated. 
  • No organization across different departments, which doesn’t allow your employees to be heard, valued or appreciated. 
  • Little to no opportunities to grow together as a company, to understand what areas need improvement, and where the strengths are. 

These all happen far too often and the result affects your dealership’s performance. Your customers can distinguish when a business has a strong foundation or is struggling to keep it together. They know as soon as they walk in your doors, which is why you must make your dealership’s culture a priority. 

Experts know what a difference it makes when a dealership’s culture is a priority. Here are some of the benefits of creating an excellent dealership culture: 

Improved work performance: When employees feel motivated, it’s because their supervisors and managers have instilled different ways to motivate their employees. The dealerships that have a strong company culture are that way because they make the well-being employees a priority. Naturally, your employees will feel more positive and motivated, which will reflect in how they treat your customers. 

Teamwork: Although vehicle sales bring in revenue, one department is not responsible for the overall success of a dealership. When each department knows the critical role they play in delivering the results you want, it cultivates a teamwork mentality. 

Open Communication: Where a lot of dealerships fail to reach a certain level of success, it’s because they don’t have open communication between departments. As mentioned above, no department is more important than another. Efficiency and morale are casualties of finger-pointing and blame between departments. Open communication cultivates teamwork, which can lead to the results you want.

Better Hires: When you have a positive culture, you’ll gain a reputation as a place people want to work. As a result, you’ll be able to hire new employees, some from more toxic dealerships, that will want to contribute to your dealership’s success instead of a temporary placeholder job. 

These are just a few of the many benefits when you make the culture of your dealership a priority. The success of any company comes from within, so ask yourself: How can you create a positive dealership culture? 

Handshake over car keys

5 Tweaks To Your Used Car Sales Pitch To Try Today

As a used car salesperson, you have an even greater responsibility than dealers who are selling factory-new vehicles with full warranties. You have to entice buyers to purchase a car that had an unknown past life before ending up on your dealership lot. 

No matter how much (or little) experience you may have selling cars, there are a few universal techniques that can make you be the best-used car salesperson at your dealership. After all, the sale is only part of the equation. Creating an enjoyable and memorable customer experience is something entirely different, which is what you want to achieve. 

Below are five compelling ways you can be the best used car salesperson: 

  • Treat customers equally: There are two significant examples when it comes to treating your customers equally. The first is when a couple is coming in to purchase a car. Don’t alienate one customer, just because the other appears to be the one with money or the decision-maker. Ask them questions to get to know them on a real level.

    Another example is when it comes to the vehicle(s) they are looking at. Each customer has their wants and needs in a car, and it’s your job to help fulfill those needs. Don’t give any special attention to the customer who is interested in the big-ticket vehicle if you don’t provide that same service to someone looking at a more humble purchase. 
  • Remember names: Simply put, remembering a customer’s name creates a more personal car buying process rather than a transaction. Whether you have to write down their name or recite it to yourself a few times, remembering names is a prominent attribute of a successful salesperson. It also shows the customer that you were listening and weren’t just reciting a line when they walked inside. 
  • Ask questions: 60% of customers are unsure of what car to buy, which is why asking questions is a critical part of the car buying process. Find out who would be driving the car, what it would be used for, what are the must-haves for the car, and what are the dealbreakers. Make sure you know your inventory. Otherwise, you won’t be able to assist customers in choosing their next vehicle adequately. Based on their answers, it’ll allow you to cross-sell or upsell on a car they never thought of but ends up being what they need. 
  • Don’t bash other dealerships: Although it’s tempting to want to talk negatively about your competition, it’s better to listen and explain how you’re different. What are exclusive warranties or deals available only at your dealership? Where do you acquire your inventory? By focusing on the unique benefits that your dealership offers, it eliminates any negative impressions you might leave on your potential buyers. Bashing a competitor can backfire, making your confidence in your own dealership seem diminished in the eyes of your customers.
  • Follow up with your customers: A lot of dealers make a mistake thinking as soon as a customer drives off the lot in their new car, they don’t need to follow up with them. One short call a week or so after the purchase to see how a customer likes their new car shows customer appreciation beyond the sale. This can also be achieved in a thank-you note sent via email, with a little blurb asking them to keep you in mind for any future purchases or referrals. 

    Be sure to also follow up with your customers who weren’t quite ready to make a purchase. Get their contact information and let them know you’ll be following up with them. Perhaps find out what their preferred method of communication is, so you know the best way to get ahold of them. A great opportunity to reach out is when you have new inventory that matches what they were looking for. Now your call is thoughtful and informative, not just a follow-up to see if they’re still in the market. Don’t be pushy when you do call them. Offer to answer any questions they might have so they know you’re here to assist them in finding their new car, not just someone making a commission off their sale.

Whether you try one or all of these methods for your used car sales pitch, they are guaranteed to help you improve your interaction with customers to be on a deeper level and increase dealership sales.

Dealership happy customers

3 Areas In Your Dealership That Could Use Immediate Improvement

No matter how well your dealership is doing in sales and against the competition, there is always room for growth. There’s no such thing as a dealership that is doing everything right all day, every day. If you think your dealership is good to go and doesn’t have any areas for improvement, then it’s only a matter of time before the overall dealership performance dips. 

Finding ways to improve does not mean failure. If anything, it’s a way to enhance your business by taking it to the next level and maintain a competitive edge. It’s as simple as asking yourself a few questions that explore how your dealership performance can improve. 

Three of the most significant areas in your dealership that will always require improvement revolve around your customers and your staff. Top-performing dealerships know that working on these areas is honing their competitive edge. The advice offered below isn’t revolutionary and probably isn’t something you haven’t already heard. But it is frequently overlooked or deferred, so we pulled together the following ways you can immediately improve three areas in your dealership. Check them out below: 

Dealership happy customers
  • Customer retention: Currently, are there any customer retention strategies in place at your dealership? Popular methods at dealerships include reward programs, loyalty incentives, and extra perks that can be used at the service department. These can consist of free car washes, oil changes, and even manicures or other personal services for the vehicle owner. The best part is, the free incentives will bring even more sales and service revenue to your dealership, and maintain your brand awareness.
  • Staff retention: When you manage a large dealership staff, it can be difficult to keep everybody motivated in the workplace. Employee engagement at dealerships is lower than most other industries, and that engagement is even lower amongst Sales and Customer Service workers – the face of your dealership! Are you currently doing anything to show support for your staff? There are several different ways you can show your appreciation for your employees if you aren’t already. Learn about their interests, congratulate them on a job well done or meeting a sales goal, and celebrating job anniversaries are just a few ways to show employee appreciation. If they feel valued in the workplace, they’ll work harder, and as a result, your entire dealership will benefit. 
  • Customer care: What kind of atmosphere does your customer waiting room currently have? When a customer comes in for their scheduled service, they should enter a welcoming environment and not a room full of uncomfortable chairs with cold coffee. Small additions to your waiting area can be those necessary touches that create a welcoming environment for your customers. Healthy snacks, free Wi-Fi, a variety of beverages, and a comfortable seating area go a long way in making your customers feel valued. When that happens, you create customer loyalty. You might need to spend some money to add these improvements, but can you ever put a price on earning a customer’s loyalty? You never know what can come from it or who they’ll refer to your dealership. 

No matter where you discover your dealership can improve, it’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. Small changes can add up to significant results, and before you know it, your dealership will have a reputation as the best in town. 

Sword oops

4 Big Management Mistakes For Used Car Sales Managers To Avoid

Being a sales manager at a used car dealership is no easy task. It can be even more of a demanding role than a new car sales manager because you have to deal with acquiring the best vehicles from the auction and oversee the reconditioning process. Although management training exists, seldom do we see people beginning their careers as managers. Those who start on the front lines and are management material may discover they quickly move up the ranks into management roles (and management problems). Even seasoned managers can make mistakes. Some are simply out of your control, while others can be more easily avoided.

Here are four management problem areas to avoid at your dealership along with simple solutions: 

Problem 1: You want people to like you instead of respect you. Many used car managers who are just beginning want everyone to be on their side, so they’ll be overly friendly instead of realizing boundaries that are there for a reason. 

Solution: There is a fine line between being friendly and being friends with everyone. As the manager, you help create a balance between departments, team members, and yourself. It’s important to remember what you have to do, to ensure that the dealership generates revenue. That can be easier with a bit of professional distance between you and those you manage.

Problem 2: You have a sense of entitlement. Just as much as some used car managers make the mistake of being overly friendly, some can be aloof and condescending to their sales team. 

Solution: Every part of a dealership, new or used, relies on one another for success. If you interact with them with a know-it-all attitude instead of one of collaborative problem-solving, they aren’t going to want to work hard to be part of the dealership’s goals, including speeding up the reconditioning process, selling your used inventory, acquiring the best cars from auction, etc.

Problem 3: You avoid conflict. Nobody likes conflict, but part of your job description as a sales manager is the ability to resolve disputes, not hide from them. 

Solution: The solution here is to identify what may be causing the conflict and how it can be resolved. Also, don’t fix the conflict without coaching your team members on how it can be avoided next time there’s a conflict. Let any conflict be an opportunity to grow as an organization, not for you to clean up the mess and slide it under the carpet.


Problem 4: Poor asset management bottlenecks the reconditioning process. vAuto found that some of the best-performing dealers can recondition their vehicles in 24 hours or less, whereas other dealerships take a week or longer. These high-performance dealerships can typically sell a car within 21 days of being on the lot. Anything more, and your lot gets full of depreciating assets, among other problems. 

Solution: Use readily available and easy to deploy software solutions to manage the recon workflow, vehicles, communication, and record-keeping better. Good software, such as ReconMonitor, is designed to optimize your reconditioning process to save you time and money.

Mistakes are normal in any business, no matter what role a person may have. It’s how you find the solutions and work together as a team that will determine the success of your dealership.

Hiring handshake

4 Hiring Practices That Can Hurt Your Dealership’s Success

  • Job Descriptions
  • One-sided Interviews
  • Desperation
  • Fact-Checking

Your dealership employees are a reflection of your brand. They are who your customer interacts with, purchases from, and need to build trust with before they make their vehicle purchase. Each new hire costs a dealership an average of $10,000, which can add up if you have a high turnover rate.

According to a 2019 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study, the average annualized turnover rate at a dealership is roughly 80% for sales consultants and 46% for dealership employees overall. You probably have a team consisting of entry-level salespeople eager to help people find their dream car. You may also have non-sales staff such as service writers who pull long hours but feel they don’t make enough money and should be compensated for overtime. 

Rather than discussing the specifics you should look for in the hiring process (every company has its own cultural and skill requirements), we’ve pulled together some hiring practices you may not realize can hurt your dealership’s success. Check them out: 

  • Minimal job descriptions: If you want to attract the best, you have to write a job description that has a bit more information than just the minimum requirements. Be clear with who and what you want out of that position, their required job experience, and what their job requirements would be. A short blurb will come off vague and will get a lot of applications from people who don’t have the necessary qualifications. 
  • One-sided interviews: Job interviews are not just one-sided. You want to present a workplace that would make someone want to work at your dealership. An interview is not just about you checking out candidates for a position. It’s also a first impression of what it would be like working at your dealership. If you instill a desire to work for you right from the interview process, they’ll be more enthusiastic about coming to work. 
  • Making an offer on the spot: When you make an offer on the spot, it comes off as desperate. You need to establish a comprehensive hiring process that includes different interviews, checking out references, and perhaps a trial project at the dealership to show them what a typical day would be. Something freely given has little value, so even if you are desperate to hire, don’t appear to be in a rush.
  • Not doing a background or reference check: Just as bad as it is to offer a job right on the spot, so is not performing a background or reference check. You may feel the pressure to hire someone right away and that verifying someone is who they say they are is a waste of time. In actuality, it keeps your dealership team and customers safe. Not to mention, it’ll save you money by hiring a quality, truthful employee instead of someone who lied about their work experience. After all, a survey conducted by CareerBuilder discovered that over half of hiring managers report they’ve caught prospects lying in their resumes. A simple reference or background check will save you that stress.

There you have it, four different hiring practices that can actually hurt your dealership’s success. Simply rearranging a few areas in the hiring process will not only save you time and future aggravation, but it’ll also save money from hiring people that aren’t in it for the long run. Make your hiring process a priority at your dealership by developing a system that guarantees any new hires you bring on will be the right hires. 

surveying used cars

4 Essential Rules To Nail Reconditioning Every Time

Your dealership’s recon operation is a profit center, but the amount of that profit depends on the choices you make and the process you administer.

Detail wash

5 Tips To Improve Your Reconditioning Process

Parking board

Running a used car dealership can be incredibly rewarding for both you, your team and customers. But one of the most significant processes involved in the used car business is reconditioning. Most dealers have an average reconditioning turnaround time of 7 days. However, the best-performing dealers can complete the reconditioning process in 24 hours or less. These are the dealers who know that “time is money” and are determined to get their vehicles ready as soon as possible to get the sales rolling in. 

So how can you improve the reconditioning process at your dealership? The following are five proven ways that you can improve:  

1) Post descriptions, photos, videos, and prices ASAP

Before you begin any reconditioning work,  photos, videos, and your asking prices should be available on your dealership’s website. If your vehicles aren’t photo-ready, then use good quality online stock images as a placeholder until the actual vehicle is ready to be photographed. This allows potential buyers to get a look at the cars you have available and can speed up the purchase process. 

2) Have A Reconditioning Team Ready 

Having a designated team of individuals specifically for reconditioning will significantly speed up the process. Your service team is already busy enough taking care of repairs and other service operations. Send your acquired auction vehicles directly to a team whose only focus is to recondition cars and make them front line ready.

3) Buy Better Cars 

Let’s face it: a used vehicle that is in excellent condition will require less work than a car that is just shy of being a fixer-upper. That’s not to say don’t purchase vehicles that need a thorough reconditioning. If the profit potential is justified, you should acquire the vehicle. However, mix it up with vehicles in better condition to make up for the time it takes to perform longer restorations. The goal is to have a steady stream of sellable inventory hitting the front line.

4) Give Proof 

Even if you’re not able to have a separate reconditioning team and the responsibility lies in the hands of your service department, it’s important to give proof of how much additional gross can flow into these departments if they reduce reconditioning cycle-time. When there are delays, everyone loses, including the customers. On the other hand, busy dealerships can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross profit annually by shaving off a couple of days in the detailing/reconditioning process. Encourage your used vehicle and service departments by showing them just how much additional gross can be made if they speed up the process, and reward their improvement. This will give them the incentive to work towards that goal where everyone can benefit. 

5) Automatic Approval 

Dealers who establish an automatic approval process for reconditioning work will see a significantly faster turnaround time. Set up a baseline cost for pre-approved repairs (the average is between $600 and $800) so that the work can be completed in a timely matter. If the estimated repairs are going to cost more than your range, have managers commit to giving a decision within a couple of hours to expedite the process. You’ll not only save a lot of time, but you’ll also save money and sell your vehicles faster. 

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also recommend using dealership reconditioning software like ReconMonitor to manage the entire process. Using software to shepherd the process allows you and your team to have all the information at your fingertips. You know the status of each vehicle and the techs know what to do now, what to do next, and any changes to the plans in real-time. Information is power, and ReconMonitor gives you the power to speed up recon and get your cars frontline-ready at maximum speed.

4 Benefits Of Giving Back To Your Community

4 Benefits Of Giving Back To Your Community

Giving is its own reward, but your business benefits from community involvement are manyfold.