by Joseph Schena
Don’t Wait for the Perfect Moment. The Time for Dealers to Act is Now.
From a global pandemic, to domestic protests and riots nationwide, to major brands like Hertz declaring bankruptcy, these are the strangest of days. Volatility has consumed everyday life. But despite all this upheaval, people are out there buying vehicles. Your dealership or group should now be roughly six weeks into a plan to maximize those opportunities and to make as much money short-term as you possibly can.
Once the pandemic broke out in March, many dealers headed for the exits and cut staff, reduced or eliminated marketing expenses and retreated, creating a vacuum for other dealers to snatch market share. One CBC client, for example, rocketed up to #3 in their region by simply filling demand that other dealers assumed wouldn’t be there. Our client was staffed correctly, marketed their value proposition correctly, and hit a home run. Another CBC client rolled out an extensive plan to pump units into an outside market, taking advantage of weaker dealers. It worked and more aggressive conquests are now being planned for later in the year.
Used vehicle prices are another area where things have changed quickly. Some dealers hedged against a seemingly-dipping used car market and unloaded used inventory ASAP. Guess what? Consumer shopping habits are now trending more heavily towards used vehicles. New-vehicle inventory shortages are looming and auction prices, at least right now, are closer to pre-pandemic levels. If you’re one of the dealers who got out of used cars when the pandemic started, you need to get back into them asap, or you’ll likely be watching your more-proactive competition in the rear-view mirror.
Co-op dollars are another item that should be aggressively mined, short-term. If you operate a franchise with factory co-op support, do everything you can to exhaust those funds as quickly as possible and get them on your bottom line. For example, last month CBC helped a Hyundai dealer recover an entire quarter’s worth of co-op funds that hit their financial statement at a historically-critical time. As another example, over the last month and a half CBC has also advised two large CDJR dealerships to pull ‘Special-Program’ PAP funds forward and cash them out ASAP. Both dealers have been happy with that decision.
Maybe COVID-19 will disappear soon. Perhaps medical professionals will break through with a vaccine. God willing, civil unrest will eventually subside. But we don’t know when any of these things are going to happen and that means now, more than ever, you need to be locked in on making today count. Stay true to your identity. Trust the good people that you have in key roles. And maximize every opportunity in front of you today.
If you’ve been considering professional assistance with your marketing plans, this isn’t the time to wait. Now is the time to act. Let’s have a conversation.