Three principles to end the year strong at your used car dealership
November 30, 2020
As we start to move out of lockdown, borders are opening, restrictions are eased and we head toward ‘Covid Normal’, it is important to have a clear plan and focus on how we intend to drive success in our used car departments. While it may seem overwhelming at times, by following a few basic principles that you monitor and report on, you will see positive improvements faster.
Based on Dale Pollak’s session at AADA and article Three Principles to Fuel Your Fourth Quarter in Used Vehicles, here are 3 key strategies that you can follow immediately:
#1 Monitor your retail pricing closely
Monitoring your pricing every day ensures that you are consistently within the pricing parameters that you have set. Most dealers are happy to be 5% lower or higher than the market average as a rule. However, if a car falls outside of these parameters then the dealer is alerted to review the car again. They can then make sure that they are remaining competitive and are still a strong value proposition to buyers who are viewing their stock on their dealer website or 3rd party site. According to Dale Pollak “The days in inventory is creeping up because dealers aren’t paying close attention to where the vehicles stand in their respective competitive sets… dealers who thought they priced competitively have moved farther back in their competitive sets (thanks, in part, to other dealers bringing lower-cost competing cars to the market)…If dealers hope to realize any profit from these distressed investments, they need to price them to sell faster before they become retail net profit losses’.
#2 Tie your inventory levels to your rolling 30-day total of retail sales
Traditionally we work month to month from a used and new car sales and inventory perspective but today a dealer needs to be monitoring stock on a rolling 30-day total of retail sales. It is no longer acceptable to justify one bad month by closing it off and working toward the next one. We need to be looking at 30-day rolling sales, leads, stock turns days’ supply and so on.
At Dealer Solutions, we measure a rolling 30-day average of delisted vehicles passing through our Inventory Dashboard. For October we saw the 30-Day Sales Rolling Average exceed the average of 1,825 vehicles sales per day which puts it ahead of the pre-COVID average of 1,757 vehicles per day.
This is an extremely positive outlook for used car desirability and the increase in sales seen by independent and franchise dealers.
#3 Tighten up your appraisal/trade-in process.
Every dealer we speak to now, regardless of which state or territory, is finding it hard to acquire stock.
Consider what your buying channels are as in most cases you will see a fluctuation in gross depending on the channel. For example, buying from privates is seen as one of the most profitable measures, so do you have a vehicle valuation module on your website making it easy for customers to find out the trade-in price of their car while at the same providing you with you a genuine lead? And are you paying a commission on trades to your sales staff? Changing behaviour is as simple as rewarding your staff to do so.
According to Pollak “some dealers did better than their peers. The difference? These dealers did a better job of acquiring inventory directly from customers, through trade-ins or off-street purchases. In turn, the dealers retailed these vehicles for better returns on investment than competitors who relied more heavily on higher-cost auction vehicles to feed their used vehicle inventories. This strategy proved to be a winner for private and public dealers alike”
These few techniques are great on paper, but you do need the right programs and systems to track and monitor your used car department. Our AutoRadar pricing tool is perfectly positioned to help you stay competitive within the market every single day and, by activating tools like LeadDriver, our vehicle trade-in calculator powered by Kelley Blue Book, you can increase the number of leads from private sellers captured directly on your website.
About the author – Kylie Brewer
With over 20 years experience in the Automotive Industry, Kylie Brewer has a unique understanding of current market trends having worked in various leadership positions within Dealerships, Groups and Automotive classifieds. She has a strong knowledge of Digital Marketing specific to dealership needs as well as a good understanding of the used car market and how to retain and build gross across all dealership departments.