There was a time where running a car dealership was easy business. Foot traffic would’ve been high, and customers would’ve been buying regularly. It wouldn’t have been too hard to make a decent profit. That’s changed quite significantly over the past few decades.
Customers now have a wealth of choices to buy from, with even online options being your competition. You’ll need to know how to lead your car dealership to success if you want to make a profit. Part of that means being an effective leader, which you’ll need to put a lot of work into.
There are more than a few ways you can do this while also benefiting your dealership. Knowing everything about the company and being willing to improve are just the tip of this. It’s worth diving into what you’ll need to do to be an effective leader for your business and drive it to success.
Seven top strategies stand out for this.
How To Lead Your Car Dealership To Success: 7 Top Strategies
1. Know Your Market
Running a car dealership in one city is quite different than running another. They’ll have different competition and potential customers, completely different markets. You’ll need to know as much as possible about your market to lead your car dealership to success. The more informed you are, the better your decision-making will be.
You’ll need this information to make quite a few decisions about the types of cars you sell and the services you offer. Even pricing decisions could be affected by this. Take the time to carefully analyze your market and figure out exactly how you fit into it, and how you can stand out from your competition.
2. Be Willing To Learn
Just because you own the car dealership doesn’t mean you know everything. You could be surprised by how much you don’t know. Taking the time to figure out what you need to learn, and actually learning it, is vital to being an effective leader in your dealership.
Everything from a vinsolutions guide to full courses could fall into this category. When you’re considering this, make sure they benefit you and the company as a whole. It’ll have much more of an impact because of this.
It’s also worth offering this ongoing training to your employees, as it lets them get much better at their jobs.
3. Understand Your Customers
It’s one thing to know your market and how your dealership fits into it, but it’s quite another to actually understand your customers. You’ll have to take a hard look at who already buys from you and learn from what you know about them. Take the time to understand your existing customer base and their demographics.
Is the largest part of your customer base families, or are they single people, for example? The answer to this drastically affects how you run your business, as well as the cars and related services you offer. It dictates whether you should see family vehicles or more high-end sports cars, for example.
Once you understand your customers, you can figure out what to do to bring in new customers like them. It gives you a clearly defined path to more business and greater profits in the long-term.
4. Have Talent Management Practices
You can’t figure out how to lead your car dealership to success without knowing how to lead. Part of that involves having talent management practices so you can properly oversee and actually manage your employees. That’s especially true when you first on-board an employee, and includes proper training.
Even ongoing incentives for high-performing employees can be recommended. Your practices shouldn’t just go one-way, however. You should encourage feedback on your leadership, as well as the business as a whole. The more comfortable employees are at doing this, the more likely they are to offer constructive ways to improve.
You’ll be a better leader, and your business will benefit from the feedback.
5. Prioritize Loyalty
It takes a lot of work to win over a customer, so you wouldn’t want them to be a once-off. You’ll want them to be repeat customers. While this takes some time and effort, it’s much easier than constantly looking for new customers, and should have a positive effect on your dealership’s bottom line. It’ll be more profitable for you.
Thankfully, there are multiple ways to engage your existing customers and keep them coming back. You’ll have to prioritize customer loyalty to make this happen, and you can do this in more than a few ways, including:
- Sending out newsletters
- Offering coupons
- Giving deals for existing customers
While these might mean making a little less profit per sale, you’ll get more sales out of it, driving up your overall profits. It’ll also lead to better word-of-mouth marketing, encouraging more potential customers to visit your dealership.
6. Monitor Performance
You’ll naturally need to lead your employees to success if you want your dealership to be successful. That doesn’t happen without having some kind of baseline focused on their performance. You’ll need somewhere to start from and improve upon, so you’ll have to monitor their performance.
Having key performance indicators in mind with this is vital. Sales can be one of the more notable of these. By monitoring these KPIs, you can carefully examine how you can improve your employees’ performance and overall effectiveness.
If you notice someone who was previously consistent and an overachiever has underachieved, talk to them and see what’s happening. The key to solid leadership is properly communicating, so take the time to see why some employees mightn’t be performing the way they should be.
7. Figure Out Marketing
You’ll already know that marketing is vital to running your car dealership. Not all marketing strategies are made the same, however, and some will be much better for your company. You’ll need to know the right ones for your dealership so you can properly capitalize on it.
There’s no point in running a national or international campaign if only a fraction of viewers could be potential customers, for example. Instead, it’s worth focusing on local campaigns to maximize your potential return on investment. Ads in local newspapers and sponsoring local events are sure-fire ways to help with this.
Don’t forget to use social media marketing and search engine optimization to boost your online efforts. With a bit of work and some time, they’ll reap dividends and boost your overall visibility, having a domino effect on your sales.
Lead Your Car Dealership To Success: Traits You Need To Have
Each of the above are some of the more effective ways to lead your car dealership to success, but you’ll need to be an effective leader to actually do it. You’ll have to inspire employees to follow you, which can be difficult if you’re used to simply delegating. Having the right leadership traits can help with this.
While it might seem as though these come naturally, they can also be learned. Some of the more notable traits you’ll need include:
- Enthusiasm – Running any kind of business takes a lot of work, and this can easily wear down more than a few people. You’ll need to be enthusiastic about your dealership and work so you have the motivation to keep pushing ahead and getting work done.
- Adaptability – Things change in every business, and this is often driven by customer behavior and demands. You’ll need to know how to adapt to these so you can keep up with the market. The better you are with this, the faster you can change and capitalize on new trends.
- Empathy – Empathy may be the most important leadership trait you need to have. You’ll need to understand your customers, employees, and suppliers. That goes beyond listening to what they’re saying, but actually understanding them and their needs. It’ll let you more effectively lead your employees while better understanding customer desires and needs, letting you sell better.
With these, figuring out how to lead your dealership to success becomes much simpler. While you’ll still have to put the work into the right areas, it’s more straightforward than it otherwise would be.
Combined with the right strategies, your leadership traits let you build a profitable and sustainable car dealership in no time. It’s more than worth learning them.
How To Lead Your Car Dealership To Success: Wrapping Up
If you don’t know how to lead your car dealership to success, you could see fewer and fewer profits. Your business could become unsustainable to operate. You’ll have to be an effective leader to make sure you’re in the right position to achieve success. Having the right traits and putting the work into the right areas are core parts of this.
Knowing your customers, being willing to learn and improve, and having effective talent management practices – among other strategies – will all play into this. While it’ll take some time and effort, you’ll see this pay off dividends in time. Employees will work better, customers will flock to your dealership, and you’ll build a sustainable car dealership.