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.

Children viewing monitor

5 Ways To Give Your Dealership Website A Virtual Facelift

Your website is your first impression for folks looking at dealerships online. Not only is it a representation of your brand, but it’s also a way to attract new customers. In only a matter of moments, a visitor to your website can determine if they want to do business with you. They may not have driven by your dealership or seen your commercials. Therefore, your site is as much of a representation of your dealership as the location itself. 

Poor website design
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One of the most important attributes of a website is the ability to communicate what the business does and who it serves. Your website needs to be able to answer questions a customer might have and give an accurate representation of your brand. At the same time, you can’t fill your website with so much content that your message is lost. 

The following are 5 ways you can improve your dealership’s website:

White Space

Although you want your website to pop and grab people’s attention, it’s also important to have white space. This gives the impression of organization and cleanliness in a modern way, focusing the attention on essential aspects within that white space. It can be specific models, categories, new or pre-owned, etc. The possibilities are endless. A recent study by Crazy Egg found that user attention increased by 20% when using white space around images, titles, and text. 

Create Calls To Action 

People are going to venture onto your website at all times: early in the morning, during the business day, and even in the middle of the night. Calls To Actions (CTAs) are an excellent way for someone to begin communication with you based on what they want. Be careful not to bog down the page with too many CTAs. This can cause your message to be lost in the chaos. Less is more when using Call To Action buttons. Sometimes all you need are “View Details” and “Get ePrice” to adequately serve the needs of someone visiting your website. 

Mobile Formatted Website

Not everyone who comes to your website will be on their computer or laptop. This is why your website must also be mobile formatted. Keep it easy to navigate and identical to the desktop version of your website. Many website building software products have built-in responsive design tools that allow your pages to detect the size of the screen being used, and reformat the page for optimal display. Mobile-Friendly websites rank higher in search results done on the phone compared to non-mobile formatted sites. If you want to read more on the statistics of mobile-friendly websites, click here

Put A Face Behind The Business 

When all the focus is on how to drive traffic to your website and improve the overall appearance, many businesses focus on the products and services offered. This can cause them to neglect the actual person-to-person experience. When people go to the dealership, they’re working with a real person. Since a visitor on your website doesn’t have someone greeting them it’s critical to have a page showing pictures of your staff on your website to give the visitor a welcoming vibe. Don’t limit the collection to just the sales team and service advisors either. Include service and reconditioning staff, finance, back-office, and executives, too.

People want to feel like they’re working with someone who genuinely cares about their business and not just after their money. Having a page with staff profiles “humanizes” your website and allows your staff to introduce themselves before someone comes into the dealership. 

High-Quality Photos 

The photos you use online for the vehicles on sale at your dealership are essential to determine whether or not someone is interested. It’s the product’s first impression, so you want to make sure the cars look their best. Using high-quality images shows your dealership cares about the brand and giving the user the best possible experience online. A study by Cox Automotive found that 90% of customers find photos important when looking for new or used cars online. 

Children viewing monitor

There are plenty of other ways you can improve the online experience for your dealership’s website. These are 5 of the primary techniques that the most successful dealerships use for their sites. Give it a try with yours, and the results may surprise you.

animation-call center agent depiction and hands on a cell phone

Establishing Customer Contact

Smiling woman wearing telephone headset

Communication is one of the most important aspects of running a thriving dealership. Customer service is improved, financial operations are streamlined, departments work together much more effectively, and more. Customer contact is the very core of what keeps business moving at a dealership. Without customers, there would be no business – plain and simple. 

There have been recent significant changes in how dealerships conduct business. More and more dealerships have entered the digital age of technology to serve their customer’s needs better. But how do you create a system of communication amongst your customers that not only shows your location is “current,” but is also capable of meeting their ever-growing demands? Within moments of a customer landing on your website, they know if they want to do business with you. Let’s take a more in-depth look. 

Old Meets New 

When you look at the customers that come to your dealership, you probably have a wide range of “old meets new.” The “old” would refer to your customers who have been with you since the beginning. They know the quality of service they will be getting and have referred their friends and family to your shop. You know them on a first-name basis and probably did the first oil change on their kid’s car. The “new” refers to the customers who are used to technology being at their fingertips. It’s a way of life for them, and they’d expect the facility caring for their car to be up to those same standards. 

What Happens Next

Today, communication is so much more than an email and a phone call. It’s all about taking the standard methods to the next level with tools such as IVM, text messaging, and ringless voicemail technology. These tools will allow you to connect with thousands of customers all at once without the time consuming manual outreach. For example, interactive voice messaging (IVM) can be an automated call to customers that gives them different responsive scheduling options for their appointment. 

Texting has also become a primary form of communication and is a great way to communicate with your customers. Customers never want to feel like they aren’t getting the same level of service they can get elsewhere. Without evidence that your dealership is using current technology, some customers could question if their car is being repaired following the latest repair procedures. They could voice their opinion in an online review, letting other customers know of your outdated methods. And that’s when the negative online reviews can start to affect your business.

Communication Is Key

There are several dealers out there who make the same mistake of not keeping in communication with their customers as soon as they drive off the lot. However, communication is critical in all aspects of dealership operations, from sales to service and beyond. 

When it comes to the service department, your customers want to feel informed and not left in the dark. They want to know what’s happening throughout their car’s repair and if something comes up. Just waiting for a call from the shop saying, “your car is ready” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Ask your customers how they prefer to be contacted and make it part of their record. Whenever possible, stay connected with your service customers by sending them text messages throughout the process of their repair. If something bigger comes up that didn’t appear in the estimate, call them and follow it up with an urgent text. 

To run a successful dealership is to have multiple communication methods to your customers. It may just surprise you what can happen just by discovering which communication method works best for your customers. 

money clock

Overtime Rule For Dealerships

The Supreme Court ruled last year that Service Advisors are exempt from overtime pay requirements. How this impacts your employee morale and customer engagement, and what you can do to keep the teams motivated.

Reputation Stars and Lightbulb

Positive Online Reviews – The Secret to Protecting Your Dealership’s Reputation

Customers already have a difficult time trusting car dealers, yet they need to feel trust in where they are making their next car purchase. One of the most effective ways a potential customer can gain trust with your dealership is to read reviews.

Group fist bump

5 Ways To Create Employee Engagement

  • Recognition
  • Purpose
  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Make it Special

Employees who are fully engaged in their workspace and what they do can genuinely change a company. They are fueled with inspiration and focused on the company vision. When this happens, it can spread to the entire company and positively affects the customers. 

However, recent studies have shown that the most experienced employees are often the least engaged in a company. One study showed that 68% of employees are “not fully engaged at work” (Gallup). That’s well over half of your entire staff! Another showed that Service and Sales departments had the weakest level of employee engagement (Netsurvey). In other words, the employees who have daily interactions with customers are the least engaged. 

That’s not what you, or any business, would want. Thankfully, there are ways to help your employees stay motivated. We compiled a list of 5 ways that have been proven to keep your team motivated in the workplace. Check them out below: 

1)  Recognition 
Your team needs to feel their work is noticed and appreciated. Take time to give positive feedback to your employees. It will make them feel valued and encourage them to engage even more in the company to help bring the dealership to new levels. 

2)  Create A Purpose 
Employees want to be a part of something beyond a paycheck. Perhaps your dealership partners with a charity during a Summer Sales fundraiser event. Or maybe when a customer purchases a new vehicle, a portion of that sale goes to the charity of their choice. Now, more than ever, people want to make the world a better place in any capacity. If you show that your dealership gives back, your employees will feel more engaged in a business that represents a positive contribution to the community. 

3) Top Positions Need To Lead By Example
Whether they are managers, executives, or team leaders, the top positions at your dealership must set an example for being engaged in the workplace. As noted above, the most experienced employees often have the least engagement. Create opportunities for top positions to work together with other team members to create an exciting atmosphere in your dealership. Your top positions must demonstrate they are fully engaged and motivated because this will influence the rest of your team. 

Leading by example will give your staff the incentive to work hard and contribute. People can instantly tell walking in if they want to do business with your dealership, based on the energy they feel. If they can tell your team lacks motivation, they’ll go elsewhere. 

4) Work Together 
Your employees may be lacking engagement because they feel like they have no voice. Have your leadership positions work together with the rest of your team allows them to give opinions, suggestions, etc. This will allow your leaders to note which employees lack motivation, and encourage your stronger employees to step up and grow within the company. 

5) Make Them Feel Special
First days, birthdays, and work anniversaries are all big deals at the workplace. Treating these like just another day misses an easy opportunity to keep your employees engaged. You must make your employees feel appreciated right from the start and throughout the year to create camaraderie among the staff and a welcoming environment where they’re genuinely excited to work. 

Your dealership could be their dream job if you encourage employee engagement. It’s possible, and these are just 5 of the ways you can create that. 

Cideo clapboard

Benefits And Ideas For Video Marketing Your Dealership

  • People prefer to learn visually
  • Visual learners mentally project themselves into the experience they are watching
  • Creating videos is easier than you think

Over the past few years, video marketing has been a proven way to engage with customers and increase sales. Most consumers are conducting online research before they ever walk into a dealership. The more answers they can get online, the more confident they’ll feel in their vehicle purchase. People prefer learning visually over reading a textual explanation. This is where video marketing can significantly benefit your dealership to gain more customers, boost sales, and have a more prominent presence. 

Check out some of these statistics about video marketing from recent years: 

  • A recent Cisco study found video traffic will be 82% of all consumer internet traffic worldwide by 2022. This is a 75% increase from 2017. 
  • 96% find videos helpful when making big purchase decisions online. (Animoto) 
  • 72% of customers prefer to learn about a product through video (Hubspot)
  • 81% of businesses already use video for marketing purposes (Hubspot) 
  • People have a 95% higher chance to retain a video’s message compared to only 10% of those who can retain a message from reading (Forbes

There is ample evidence that video is beneficial for any business, and this is especially true when it comes to car buying. Your brand is the cornerstone of how you market yourself online. Dealerships have to stand out or be swallowed whole by competition who have perfected their marketing. If they have video content and you do not, get ready to be swallowed.

You read the statistics and now want to know where to begin. Here are a few video marketing ideas to boost sales for your dealership: 

Virtual Walkaround 

Filming a virtual walkaround of the vehicles you’re selling is a great way to engage with online customers. They can see how the car looks from all angles, inside the vehicle, and any additional features that come with the car. Have the sales rep explain the vehicle the same way they would if a customer was right there with them to create a personal experience, even online. The purpose of this video is to showcase a car before a potential buyer visits the dealership. These videos can be posted everywhere your dealership has a web presence and linked to the vehicle listing. 

Customer Testimonials 

What better way to engage with customers online than to show other customers’ experiences? There is no better proof than filming various testimonials of customers describing their experience at your dealership. It also doesn’t have to be limited to car buying. Get testimonies from specific departments, including Finance, Service, and Parts. Also, testimonial videos create an opportunity for customers to share videos on their social networks. This gives your dealership instant credibility from the buyer’s friends and family members who also might be in the market. 

Introductions 

Filming introductions of your sales and customer service team allow for potential customers to see who they would be interacting with. This is an excellent way for your dealership to engage with prospects because it creates a more personalized experience. Besides, it allows your sales team to highlight their language skills and other specialties that may be better suited for a particular customer. As far as your customer service goes, filming their individualized intros creates welcoming energy to your entire dealership. By the time the customer arrives at the dealership, they’ll feel a sense of familiarity walking in and less like they’re going to be attacked by predators after their money. 

New Model Releases 

Anytime a new model is released, it’s a great chance to create a video showing the upgrades and changes from the previous model. Film it in the same walkaround style as your inventory videos to give a real in-depth look at what the new model has to buy it. You can even film a sales rep explaining why customers might want to consider purchasing the new model as opposed to the previous model or comparable cars in the same category. You might also be able to get video footage directly from the manufacturer in advance of receiving the new model and add in your own audio.

How else can your dealership use this powerful medium to benefit your customers and your bottom line? Ask your team what videos they think would be effective, and let them be part of the process. Video has proven to be a beneficial marketing technique to boost sales and engage with potential customers. It’s easy to do and super fun at the same time. You never know where video can take you!