Best Practices Tips

Don't just wholesale that old trade-in

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 1, 2014
Last year River Town Honda in Grandville, Mich., embraced older, high-mileage trade-ins instead of selling them at near-zero profit to wholesalers. General Manager Rick Clift says the decision has lead to "the biggest single piece to our growth." River Town markets the older vehicles under the moniker "Budget Row collection" both in a special section of its lot and online. The store is selling 25 to 30 such vehicles a month at an average net profit of $700.... Read More »

 

Sell the fuel, too

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 2, 2014
The nation's largest Chevrolet dealership, Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, opened its own compressed natural gas fueling station to help sell the brand's natural-gas-powered vehicles. Chevrolet offers a heavy-duty pickup that operates on both gasoline and natural gas, and it will offer a bi-fuel version of the Impala this fall. Classic Chevrolet spent nearly $1 million in natural gas pumps and associated plumbing at a fueling station that also sells gasoline, diesel and E85 fuels.... Read More »

 

Know your customers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 26, 2014
At Jaguar Land Rover North Scottsdale, Arizona, customer-facing employees are treated to an upscale steakhouse lunch, followed by tea at the local Ritz-Carlton, as part of their training. The point, says General Manager Bobby Perich, is to have his employees "experience what our customers are used to. … (Customers) need to get the same, if not a better, level of service when they come to the store."... Read More »

 

Reward employees in unique ways

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 19, 2014
At least once a month, Keith Kocourek, owner of Kocourek Automotive Group in Wausau, Wis., rewards great work or the achievement of a goal with custom-minted coins in denominations of $20, $50 and $100. The coins must be traded for an item of the employee's choice, such as a gift card, sports tickets or a trip, which the company buys on the employee's behalf. The coins have helped the dealerships maintain and improve customer satisfaction scores.... Read More »

 

Make house calls

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 12, 2014
American Ford in Glendive, Mont., use Ford dually pickups and trailers to, well, pick up and deliver customers' vehicles for the service department. They also deliver newly purchased vehicles to customers. They even haul vehicles to potential customers for test drives. It's a boon in the winter, when American's service department is booked three weeks in advance, says Kyle Johnson, the store's general manager.... Read More »

 

Outsource your staffing

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
By hiring a staffing agency to handle its hourly workers, including porters, Warren Henry Auto Group in Miami has saved $100,000 a year. It also reduced or eliminated such headaches as drug-testing and insurance costs and claims. In addition, turnover in its hourly ranks has decreased.... Read More »

 

Enlist the help of a shopping consultant

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 28, 2014
At JM Lexus, the world's largest-volume Lexus store, product specialists help customers find the appropriate vehicle and explain its features, then hand the customers to sales managers for sales and finance discussions. This prevents the deal from bouncing among customers, salespeople and managers, and trims about an hour from the sales process.... Read More »

 

Take the time to teach

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 21, 2014
Dealer Terry D'Arcy has created the unique position of delivery specialist at his three Illinois stores. The specialists teach customers how to sync their phones and use the navigation and infotainment systems. Eventually, the specialists are promoted to sales.... Read More »

 

Sell out of the service drive

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Mike Shaw Toyota-Scion in Corpus Christi, Texas, employs a full-time salesperson who sits in the service department and offers a free, no-strings market appraisal when customers pull in for an oil change or repair. There's a 1-in-20 chance they'll trade in their vehicle for a new car, improving access to used cars and building the store's customer retention.... Read More »

 

Go high tech, no pressure

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2014
Patsy Lou Automotive Group in Flint, Mich., is embracing technology and a no-pressure environment to draw younger consumers. Offices in the bright, industrial auxiliary showroom have been converted to mini lounges with flat-panel TVs and high-top tables. Test drives are recorded in HD and drivers can post the experience online.... Read More »

 

Charity test drives can drive leads, sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 10, 2014
Grogan's Towne Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Toledo, Ohio, sponsors charity test drives that create community good will -- and potential leads and new-vehicle sales. The advantages far outweigh the roughly $2,000 cost. The drives usually result in at least a handful of sales. The factory provides the donations; the dealership markets the event and provides staff.... Read More »

 

A delivery specialist can make a difference

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2014
At D'Arcy Buick-GMC in Joliet, Ill., the creation of a delivery specialist has increased the sales staff's performance, raised customer satisfaction and created a pipeline of potential salespeople. The job: Instruct new-car customers how to sync their phones and use the navigation and infotainment systems, and make sure customers know how each feature works before driving away.... Read More »

 

How video can seal the car deal

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Dave Wright Nissan-Subaru in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, requires salespeople to shoot and send a 55-second video of a vehicle to every prospect who calls, e-mails or walks into the showroom. The rule is helping drive sales higher and has encouraged salespeople to become more responsive.... Read More »

 

Keep a close eye on your used-vehicle inventory

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
DePaula Chevrolet in Albany, N.Y., has a strict policy: No used vehicle stays on the dealership's lot for more than 60 days. Making the change wasn't easy. But the switch has boosted sales and turned a money-losing department into a profitable one.... Read More »

 

Special Report
How #1 store scores with employees

How #1 store scores with employees

Texas dealer Greg May encourages staffers to provide input and solve problems on their own. Mon., October 20
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