Be Relevant, Be Current by David Sharma

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Assisting staff and members of the community is critical in times like these. Photo: Shutterstock

Optimize and prioritize your time!

Once we’re past the pandemic, you’ll need to have support in place to further your business. The opportunity is now!

For example, what are you doing for your dealership relationships? How about your vendors, the surrounding businesses and merchants that support one another, not to mention the staff that maintain this entire system?  Are you making those new connections and/or positively reinforcing those current ones?

In the current environment where connections are becoming harder to make, are you finding innovative ways to engage in order to further your business once we’re past the pandemic? Also, are you optimizing the providers you have? Owners should look at their most recent invoice, review the itemized products and services, and then contact that rep to ensure all those items are providing a positive ROI.

Are you getting up-to-date reporting on all those items? Are you making decisions from those reports? That’s how you’ll ensure a consistent positive ROI.

Provider communication

How do those providers talk to each other? When you’re talking to your account rep or provider, find out about recent acquisitions. Is there another partnership you can bring into the fold? For example, if you don’t have a CARFAX logo or badging on your website, you want to reach out to your CARFAX rep, put those in place and ask for their input. That also includes your online providers, your media partners and in-store suppliers.

Take a look at your web presence—where is it today? How does your online presence stack up against your competition? What kind of improvements can you make? There are new models currently launching, as well as new offerings. All these can be embedded into your profiles, web presence and media. Talk to your providers, who have reps for all these services. They will advise on how to fully optimize these changes to ensure a partnership in the months—or better yet—years to come.

What are you doing in your community? Take time to visit the people that work in your town that buy from and support you. Give back to the community—after the pandemic, they’ll be the ones who remember what you did for them. They’ll look at you provided advice, offered your services or supported a local cause that made a difference.

Go to retailers, restaurants, gyms, and discuss how they can help out after the pandemic. Put something in place to make them feel like they’re wanted and needed.

Owners need to mingle

It’s also the time for owners to be mingling. In these hard times, you’ve probably experienced significant turnover. What can you do to rectify this? How can you make sure your employees are okay? In 95 % of the cases, the issue is resources. So, shake your wallet and invest in your people, like your service advisors. Extra support can go a long way to lifting everyone’s spirits.

Make sure your managers feel good, too. There’s lots of strain on them. After the topsy- turvy year we’ve had, it might be easy to overlook the obvious. Let’s get back to people. Send flowers on special occasions, provide a warm lunch on a Saturday, show you care.

Do some housework. Do a deep clean in the showroom, clean up whatever’s not being used. Give people the choice of stand-up podiums so they’re not sitting all day. Think about what other changes you can make so that customers and staff feel more comfortable.

There’s no time like the present to start working on the success of your future business. Revisit your resources, think positive, make a plan and stick to it.

David Sharma is the founder of Dealer InLine, which provides a full range of marketing and consumer engagement tools for automotive dealers, designed to optimize the sales experience both online and in-store. 


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