We Are Resilient!
Re.sil.ient – adjective means: “(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.”
You are resilient. If you are a car dealer selling cars through a pandemic of epic proportions, you are resilient! Yet, before you break your arm patting yourself on the back for making it through what would be considered some of the most trying financial challenges since the Great Depression, this is not the first time your industry has faced immediate, monumental shifts in market like we are witnessing today.
Car dealerships have always been the first industry to show the others how to weather the current storm. Some may stop and say “woe is me”, but those are the ones left behind. Running a car dealership is not easy. If it were, there would be no sales people. This industry has always known this. Go back just 15 years ago or so. The car business was steaming along and then the 2007 -2008 Financial Crisis hit. In that storm, credit was the issue. Dealers did not let a lack of credit back then keep them from selling cars.
Go back to 9/11. I was on my way to my family’s car dealership located in the suburbs of Washington DC when I heard a second plane hit the towers. I can still remember getting to work and seeing the customer I was helping the night before was there to pick up the car he agreed to buy. I told him with all that was going on I was impressed he fulfilled his commitment. He said to me, “I still have to get to work tomorrow.”
You help people every day. You are still helping them weeks, months, and even years after the sale. They may not ask you about the challenges you face, but that is because they have their own challenges. Just like you, they are resilient and they will not let challenges get in their way.
The challenge before that might be considered the Gas Embargo of 1979. Due to Middle East conflicts, oil production dropped and prices sky rocketed. U.S. Car dealerships were flooded with land yachts like the Town Car and the Fleetwood Brougham. Overnight, it cost a fortune to drive those cars across town and no one wanted them. What did dealerships do in the face of that storm? They got smaller. It wasn’t long before the Omni and the Escort replaced the Road Barges and again, because of the resilience of car dealers across the nation, America kept driving.
So, we are rolling out of Covid. Now is a good time to see where this storm is taking us. Well, the answer is, On Line. Your consumer has been looking for a more efficient way to buy everything from toilet paper to SUVs. This storm has driven Grandparents to Amazon when just a couple years ago they didn’t have a computer. The youngest generation of car buyers is wondering why they can’t buy their car on Amazon.
Even before the pandemic hit, JTZ Enterprise began finding ways of getting the consumer the shortest path between shopping for a car and actually buying it. Our competitors are chasing our technology because they know this is where the storm is taking us. The more parts of the Shopping process that can be done online means the more efficient path to the sale for the consumer. Do you have a complete Vehicle Condition Report integration on your website where your Carfax or AutoCheck (or other Condition Report) is available to your consumer? Do you have an integrated SMS Marketing Tool available for all your advertising to not only track phone calls but also allow for text messaging and SMS Marketing? Do you have a Buy It Now button on your website that will allow your buyer to select a car, work out all the DMV fees, arrange for new or transferred tags, and handle all the aftermarket Warranties and GAP options? If not, Why Not?
Today’s client is more likely than ever before to perform the entire purchase process online than ever before, thanks to Covid. If you want to learn the most from this most recent storm, you should look at how you can shorten the steps and the clicks it takes to get to a sale. We can help. We have the ability to send your next sale directly to your F&I or DMS provider so that all you have to do is the paperwork! In the face of today’s challenges it is wise to partner with great providers. If your current solution is not as resilient as you would like, give us a call!
By John Summer, JTZ Enterprise, LLC