Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Is Your Dealership Prepared for a Hurricane?

How would your dealership respond if it were affected by a hurricane? Even if your area is not prone to hurricanes, it’s important to come up with a preparedness plan. Here are some steps your dealership should take in order to be ready when a hurricane, or other natural disaster, hits:

Before Disaster Strikes 

First and foremost, your dealership should assign an emergency team that will take charge during a disaster. This group of employees will assist with disaster preparation, such as checking equipment and first aid materials. They should also create a preparedness kit containing emergency supplies for each building of your dealership.

It should contain:

  • A business recovery plan explaining the roles of employees during a disaster
  • Emergency service contacts for utilities, phones, sanitation, etc.
  • Emergency communications equipment
  • Flashlights
  • Cleaning supplies 

If your dealership is running on paper-based processes, have a secure location to store all documents and filing cabinets. Make copies of records and store them in a physically secure facility.

Store your keys in a safe location and make sure they’re organized if you have to shut your doors for a couple days. If you use a key management system, be sure to run a system backup and export or print a map of the system contents in case of a power outage.

Don’t let the unexpected keep your business from succeeding. If you have the right tools and preparation, your dealership can survive a hurricane.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Retain Your Dealership's Best Salespeople With Better Tools

Car salesman showing paperwork to a customer.
According to, median tenure for a car dealership employee has steadily declined since 2011. Many businesses value employee retention, but it is decidedly more critical in the automotive industry. Good salespeople are the backbone of any dealership; their ability to generate leads and sales is an invaluable asset. Unfortunately, retaining top salespeople is not easy. To make sure your dealership is not a victim of this trend, follow these strategies to keep your salespeople right where you need them.

Understand That Time Is Money for Your Salespeople

A study conducted by Autotrader found that customer satisfaction is at its highest within the first 90 minutes on the day of purchase. Customer and employee satisfaction have a correlative relationship; satisfied customers make an employee's day easier and allow them to close more deals. Salespeople want their customers to be happy and make purchases, but unfortunately, this is an uphill battle against inventory, unrealistic demands and, most notably, the clock.

For salespeople, time is money, and anything that can streamline the buying process is a welcome addition to a salesperson's routine. According to above-mentioned Autotrader study, a good portion of a vehicle buyer's in-dealership experience is currently spent on selecting a vehicle for purchase. Electronic key control systems are one way to speed up this process. Salespeople can see if a key is currently checked out and who checked it out, which is invaluable information when trying to locate a desired vehicle. They will spend less time scrambling for keys and look much more organized and competent to the customer, allowing them to sell more vehicles and therefore make more money. Higher paychecks will give them the incentive to continue working for you.

Remain Competitive

Making sure your dealership has the latest tools and technology is one way to make you stand out as a desirable place to work. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, better alternatives are one of the top four reasons employees leave a company. Ensuring that your company is competitive on all fronts is one way to take steps toward upping your retention rates. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that satisfaction and environment together was one of the top reasons for an employee to stay with a company. Improving both of these factors results in highly motivated salespeople who want to work for your business.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Secure Your Dealership's Assets Before a Break-In

With the combined inventory on a single lot costing more than the average home, car dealerships are prime targets for theft. When your dealership becomes the victim of a heist attempt, it is crucial to already have the proper measures in place to secure your inventory and prevent losses.

man breaking window of vehicleOne dealership in Waco, TX, recently learned this lesson the hard way after a thief was caught in the act. When police responded to a suspicious vehicle call in a nearby neighborhood, they encountered the thief in a stolen Mustang parked outside the dealership. The cops apprehended the criminal after a car chase and discovered several sets of keys to cars still on the lot, as well as keys to already stolen or missing vehicles.

The thief and some of his associates had broken into the dealership's building, taken keys to several vehicles, and arranged many of them so that they could be easily driven off. Had police not arrived at the scene when they did, the dealership could have lost over $100,000 in inventory.

The more lines of defense you can put between a thief and your vehicles, the better. Securing your keys is a good first step, but simple lockboxes or back-room peg boards won't be enough to stop determined thieves. A more secure solution would be a key and inventory management system that limits access to authorized individuals and automatically provides an audit trail of key checkouts.

You can also make your lot less attractive by strategically parking cars around exits, increasing the difficulty thieves would face in removing cars. Park a string of cars in front of entrances or gates so thieves will have to work harder to drive off the lot in stolen vehicles. The more cars thieves have to move, the more time they'd spend on the lot, increasing the chances of getting caught.