To say that 2009 will be a tough year for the motor trade is an understatement at the very least, we can already hear the caution being expressed by franchised dealerships on new vehicle sales for the forthcoming year, but what’s the outlook for the used sector?
In my opinion this is somewhat akin to “fortune telling” and with the fallout of the downturn still impacting on the high street, any retail outcomes are going to be extremely hard to predict. One thing’s for sure though, like it or not we are going to see a lot more casualties in the motor industry before this period is over.
So what can we do to mitigate the worst of it? Well for starters, provide the highest standard of customer service we can, I know this goes without saying but in the current financial climate the customer is not just King, they are the President, Emperor, Sultan and Nabob all rolled into one!
Sourcing the right stock is also of paramount importance, with customers expecting and getting better value for their money I believe the days of selling low spec cars are on hold for the foreseeable future. As an example, why buy an LX or S spec vehicle when the Ghia and SE models can be found for just a few pounds more? VFM (Value For Money) is, in my opinion the “Buzz Phrase” for used car sales this year.
The “On the Ball” dealer will continue to scrutinise the competition very carefully, constantly checking pricing in order to stay competitive both on the forecourt and the internet, it is a foolhardy dealer who ignores this medium yet I still know many who say “The Internet doesn’t work” I wish them luck!
What more can you offer you’re customer against the other dealer in town? Do you have, or can you source the vehicle they want? Can you go that “extra mile” in order to clinch the deal when valuing their part exchange? And perhaps most importantly can you offer them a service that meets all of their criteria?
In 2009 the customer who has money to spend is not just going to expect more, they are going to demand it! Better products, better service, better customer care, better knowledge, better pricing, and if we want to survive, we better make sure we can provide it.