Laying future foundations Admin In the Media (0) The new year is upon us and if you didn’t kick some level of proactivity into gear late last year in preparation for 2018, then there’s no time like the present to take some action.Some people may be surprised to learn that what lies ahead for them in 2018 can be influenced by the actions they take in their dealership.While it’s never too late to start, the foundations of what could have been laid over the past few years actually also impact your results in the present and the future.Those that have ignored delivering an exceptional customer experience, and fail to utilise customer relationship management tools to keep in touch with their clients, will reduce their success significantly in this area over the year ahead.You cannot dwell on the past or change what has been, but you can ensure you are proactive for the future and take steps today to improve your sales not only over 2018, but to also start laying sound foundations for 2019, 2020 and beyond.If you don’t plan to be in business in a few years’ time, then don’t worry about it. But if you are committed to future success, then take some positive proactive action now to influence as much of your success as you can.Some areas worth seriously looking at and reviewing are:Dealership presentation.Vehicle presentation.Staff presentation.Conversion process online to dealership, and test drive to sale.Lost opportunities.Finance and insurance performance.Customer relationship and retention management.These areas can – and will – have a significant impact on your dealership’s performance and, if you want to do better than what you did in 2017, then these are the best places to start.In many cases you need to remove yourself from the business and look at it from your customer’s perspective.All too often, the environment that surrounds you day in, day out can become ingrained in your subconscious and it can often become hard to pick up the most obvious things.There are plenty of aspects you won’t realise are sub-standard and are influencing your customers’ experience in a negative way.Ask family and friends to get involved and take a look at your business, mystery shop, inquire online, call on the phone, come and test drive a car – all in aid of providing you with a better understanding and maybe the possibility of providing some constructive feedback.Utilise customer surveys and review tools such as BuyerScore. This provides you with significant insight into not only customers’ purchasing experience, but also why people didn’t buy from your dealership.You’ll probably be surprised to learn that it wasn’t the vehicle’s price that was the main reason a prospective customer didn’t buy from you.Another area you can ask for feedback is from your suppliers in the industry, those who visit your dealership, among many others.Ask them for honest feedback on what they see when they come onto your yard, and the way your staff interact with them and each other.Embrace this positively and respect their opinions because, at the end of the day, they want you to be more successful also.That being said, above all, please do something with the information you receive. Make a plan to implement changes based on this feedback.You will be surprised how easy it could be to pick up and an extra few sales a month by making some basic changes that are staring you right in the face.The team at Motorcentral all too often receives feedback from dealers wishing that they had made changes years ago because they realise the opportunities they have missed.Remember it’s never too late to start making positive change within your business. Take 2018 by the horns. Make it the year your dealership surpasses previous sales records and lays effective foundations for future success.The team at Motorcentral is super-excited about 2018 and driving more innovative ways that enable the success of motor-vehicle dealerships in New Zealand.