If you listen to some people you would probably end up believing we are entering meltdown. Although I have to admit things are pretty tough out there, if you do the job correctly and work hard there are still rewards to be earned.
If there are fewer customers around and enquiries are scarce then how do car dealers keep the kettle boiling?
Well for a start doing the same things is not always an option, unless you are so sure of your processes and the staff who operate them then going outside and looking in is often a way of sectioning off and scrutinising each part of the business to ensure that it is capable of functioning successfully as a unit.
A good car dealer will first look at his product and how he presents and markets it but also whether their display is best in class. Is it going to give their business the competitive edge it needs to encourage customers with multiple choices to come into their showroom and potentially by a car?
Secondly although it can be hard, competitive pricing is imperative because when cars aren’t selling they usually start devaluing, sometimes very quickly and dealers who do not react and price accordingly can often start haemorrhaging money. That is the price of not being close to the market when it comes to pricing stock.
Thirdly the sales team need to be engaged and understand the changing dynamics of the market. They need to understand that dwindling showroom footfall means the potential prospects they see may be the only ones they lay eyes on that day and if they are not given the full retail treatment they will surely go elsewhere.
It is also vitally important that dealers understand the cars they have that represent a unique selling proposition. They need to concentrate on how to maximise the profitability of these cars and negate the shortfalls they experience bailing out of cars which maybe in more plentiful supply but are therefore far more price sensitive.
With all these ingredients in the mixing bowl the most important thing is that the leader is close to the whole business and is prepared to micro manage and challenge his line managers to ensure that everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet. It may sound trite but customer centricity is the only solution to current problems.
So is the current economic climate a problem or an opportunity? An opportunity to succeed and prosper despite the challenges being faced?
I don’t have all the answers all I do know is that a customer will very quickly realise when they are in a successful business. One in which the staff are all prepared to commit to the same level of effort and attitude.
Rather than a business which has not wised up to the fact that its survival of the fittest out there and it’s the leanest who will win the day in the coming months.