Tackling one dealership’s stagnant sales – June 5, 2006

These articles recap some of the opportunities that were uncovered by GSA powersports specialists during actual consulting visits. These opportunities are followed by recommended actions that address the issues.
The goal of this three-part series is to provide ideas that might help improve your dealership.
The series’ first part looked at potential problems from the customer’s viewpoint and the second part examined the dealership’s existing sales processes.
This final part of the series details how GSA consultants help the dealer implement the recommended actions.
Dealership Details
The subject dealership is located 15 minutes outside of a major metro area. They are selling 600 units per year and struggling to make a profit. The focus of our visit was to provide the dealer with a high-level needs assessment of the facility and the sales department. The goal for the recommended actions was to (a) boost their floor traffic, (b) improve unit sales, (c) increase profitability and (d) build add-on accessory and clothing sales.
Following the needs assessment of the facility and the sales processes, our consultants prepared a list of recommended actions and reviewed them with the dealer principal. The goal of this review was to determine if the dealer principal was willing and capable of accomplishing the action. Once the level of commitment and capability was established, the recommended actions were prioritized. In the case of this dealership, there was an immediate need to implement actions that increased floor traffic, improve customer satisfaction and generate income so those became the highest priorities.
Issue: Lack of accountability, poor efficiency and productivity of staff
Recommendation: An organizational chart, written job descriptions and specific guidelines in the current policies and procedures manual must be created in order to reduce confusion and provide for accountability for managers and staff.
Implementation solution: The GSA consultants helped the dealer principal construct an organizational chart, which was then presented to all employees. Sample job descriptions for the sales manager and sales staff were provided. They can be modified to fit the dealership. An outline for the necessary revisions for the policies and procedures guide also was developed.
Issue: Lack of sales department profitability, efficiency and productivity
Recommendation: Written sales department procedures must be developed in order for the sales process to be consistent and productive, and provide for accountability in the sales department staff. Properly capturing customer information for prospecting and follow-up will increase floor traffic and create opportunities for additional unit sales. Exposing every customer to parts, service and F&I during each sale will increase add-on sales from all these departments.
Implementation solution: Our GSA consultants assisted the sales manager in developing a written procedure for the sales department This covered (a) their greeting policy, (b) the steps of the M.O.T.O.R. Sales Process, (c) capturing customer contact information, (d) the prospect follow-up process, and (d) developing a customer path that ensures that every customer has the opportunity to experience every department in the dealership prior to the final F&I procedure. Sales management training was provided for the sales manager on all these procedures. The following tools were provided: The Customer Log Form, Prospect Contact Form, Purchaser Follow-up Form and The M.O.T.O.R. Sales Process Workbook.
Issue: Ineffective, unproductive sales staff
Recommendation: A properly trained sales staff ensures consistent treatment of every customer and increases sales and profitability. Effective salespeople have good product knowledge and follow a structured selling process with every customer.
Implementation solution: Selling skills training based on the M.O.T.O.R. Sales Process was provided for the sales team by the GSA consultants. This training also included instruction on finding specific product information for the various product lines. Additional product knowledge training must be provided by the sales manager and product manufacturers.
Issue: Lack of productivity and profitability in the parts department
Recommendation: An effective parts manager will train and motivate the parts staff, and can be held accountable for the performance of the parts department. The parts manager is the key to proper inventory management and increased profitability in this high-margin profit center.
Implementation solution: GSA consultants assisted the dealer with construction of an effective recruiting ad, conducted candidate screening and initial interviews, and provided the dealer with qualified candidates for the position.
Issue: Unattractive, ineffective, inefficient store layout causing reduced floor traffic, reduced profitability and lost sales opportunities.
Recommendation: Attractive window displays, an efficient overall showroom layout with effective traffic flow patterns, stimulating merchandise displays, a properly located parts counter, focal-point showroom displays and proper departmental signage will stimulate floor traffic and increase sales and profitability. The appearance of the store creates a perception of value to the customer that will help support the prices the store should charge for its goods and services.
Implementation solution: A complete remodel of the showroom area was outlined by GSA consultants. The actual remodel was accomplished by a firm that specializes in powersports dealership facility design.
Author, speaker and educator, Gart Sutton has been retained by every major powersport manufacturer/distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state Motorcycle Dealer Association events. Visit

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