It’s that time of year when the Motor Industry catches its breath after the 1st quarter of sales. The market has finished down 8% on 2016, a drop of just over 6,800 units. Anecdotally dealers have been expressing it as a difficult quarter being highly competitive with somewhat lower showroom traffic.
The usual massaging of new car registration figures with pre-reg deals etc will have contributed to the 1st quarter market. The Industry is still looking strong and the market produced a very healthy figure of almost 83,000 new car sales.
Traditionally the pressure from Distributors will ease slightly at this time of year. This gives an opportunity to focus on the key actions and dealer events to ensure they continue to have a positive year.
So What Are The Key Action Plans For April?
1. Check Your Inventory
Your distributor may have pushed new car stock into your dealership over the past 3 months. Some of these stock plans were based on a market that was to be ahead of 2016.
It’s important you identify which new car vehicles currently in stock are clocking up interest charges. Make a list of these vehicles and decide on appropriate action. Swap them, try return them, but ideally sell them!
Your used car stock will probably be at its highest point at this time of year. Again, it’s important to review this based on the number of days in stock and standing values.
Depending on what your stock turn ambitions are, you’ll need to decide which stock you reduce and shift quickly. Typically if it’s in stock over 60 days or more, you need to move it quickly.
Meet with your sales team today and forensically go through all of your used cars. Reviewing your stock will allow you to plan more accurately the necessary activities you require.
2. Review Your Pipeline
You should review your leads pipeline and begin to re-engage all open leads. Some of the leads in your pipeline may be coming towards changing in the 2nd quarter or you may now have vehicles in stock that suits them.
Have a look at your closed leads and consider engaging with these with a survey in terms of how you performed. Often this type of re-engagement will re-open the lead with the customer.
3. Review Your Sales Performance
Having completed the busiest time of the year, now it’s worthwhile looking at how you performed. Review the obvious measurements e.g. did you achieve your new car target, your used car stock turns, and your washout targets?
Be sure to use your leads pipeline to review actual sales performance: What % of leads were closed/ took a test drive/ were lost? This kind of review of your performance will allow you to identify what sales members need training or help.
4. Don’t Forget The Workshop
Hopefully you have not been neglecting the workshop over the past 3 months. Often the workshop can “appear” to be busy due to the volume of new car vehicles and used car preparation. Take the time now to look at your workshop efficiencies for the 1st quarter of 2017.
5. Plan Your Dealer Marketing Campaigns
Having undertaken the kind of reviews mentioned previously now is the time to plan specific dealer marketing campaigns that will help you achieve specific targets. For example:
- Create a sales campaign that will engage customers specifically with the stock you need to sell.
- Analyse your database based on your stock criteria.
- Contact the most relevant customers with an exciting offer.
- Consider if you need to run a Used Car Sales Event in April or May.
- Look at where your workshop needs additional traffic.
- Identify the customers that were due to be serviced in the first quarter but did not return.
- Run a service campaign with a specific offer to fill the capacity in your workshop.
- Review all the unsold Vehicle Health check items and target these customers.
- Look at potential customers on your database for large service items such as timing belts.
Remember to do this early as you really only have 8 weeks to achieve your used car goals. Your distributor will be making plans for July registrations and dealer marketing efforts will be focused on new car sales from early June.