Everyone wants their chance to go to the show. Football players want to play in the Super Bowl. Hockey players want to play in the Stanley Cup final. Baseball players want to play in the World Series. Golfers putt for dough and to wear a green jacket while Motocross riders want the Number 1 plate in Las Vegas each May. In the sporting world, when you make it to the height or most important part of the season, you’re going to the “show.” For powersports dealers, our “show” is called spring.
Those athletes have to work hard, prepare and do whatever is required in order to have any chance of winning their show. This is also true for owners and managers in our industry. There are no do-overs or second chances so we have to make sure we give ourselves every chance to make the most of our appearance at the show. Athletes will practice, grow beards, put on their game face and focus completely on the task at hand. Do you and your staff have that needed focus?
If you aren’t ready or prepared, your staff won’t be either, so you’re not going to be able to motivate your staff to kick it into high gear this spring. In order for your business to have any chance of coming out a winner in this year’s show, you better be prepared and have a game plan to execute; otherwise you’ll be scratching your head later this summer wondering what happened and how you’ll make it through the winter.
Take the time to review each department and ensure they are ready for the season. You and your staff must all be on the same page so everyone knows what’s going on and why. As an owner or GM, your vision and direction must be clear and understanding to everyone. Without clarity, you can’t expect your staff to be successful in what your expectations are. Open communication is a must and has to be encouraged. Meet with your managers regularly.
As you review how ready and prepared your various departments are, I urge you to ask yourself and your managers questions such as:
- How current is your website and how often do you update it? Most customers have researched what they want to buy before walking into a dealership. If you aren’t updating, you’re already in trouble.
- Are you using Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media to promote your dealership and any specials you have at the time?
- When was the last time you re-arranged your showroom floor and freshened it up? You should have your complete new model line on your floor by now.
- Have you invested in your sales team with some training to help sharpen their listening skills and overcome objections?
- Have you set sales targets for your sales people and your sales manager? We all need to have goals to work towards. Have you considered incentives for sales people reaching their targets? Do you have a scoreboard updated daily so everyone can see how they are doing? Competition is good.
- Have you targeted non current stock and priced them to move based on the most current retail programs available from your OEMs?
- Does your business or F&I manager have an updated menu book with current programs from your preferred lenders? Have you sent them to any training to help them work on cash conversions and increase sales penetration rates?
- Have all parts and accessory booking been received with new product properly displayed on the floor? I worked at a marine dealership that ran out of oil in early July… So much for being prepared.
- Have you considered putting a clearance bin on the floor to sell off old non-current accessories? People love a real bargain.
- Have you considered hiring an accessory specialist to work the floor for the rest of the Spring and Summer. If you can find an enthusiast with an outgoing personality, that person can not only pay their salary but add some needed sales growth while keeping your customers happy.
- How is your service manager/advisor set up for booking internal and retail business? It won’t be long before you are booked out weeks in advance. How much time are they making available to their biggest customer, the sales department? There has to be some time available every day for PDI’s and test for trades in order to keep the dealership work flow running smoothly.
- Have you and your service manager been monitoring tech productivity and efficiency? An experienced tech team should be hitting 100%+ for efficiency while productivity should be in the 65-75% range. Some dealerships can hit 80-85% but that is more the exception than the rule.
These are only a few questions you can ask that help you and your team get your head into the game. In order to win at the show, athletes have to leave everything on the field. You and your business are no different so it’s time to shift into high gear. Enjoy the show!
Bruce Marcia is the director of Bruce Marcia and Associates, a retail management consulting firm that specializes in assisting and supporting dealerships in the RV/marine and powersports industries. As a recognized troubleshooter with over 30 years of experience in inventory finance, dealership general management and as a district manager for a major OEM, Bruce has had the unique opportunity to understand and learn from all three important fields that make these industries function.
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