What do top performing dealerships have in common?

top performing dealerships

No two dealers are exactly the same in terms of their business and management style. Every dealership has its own culture, environment, set of traits, and mindsets that dealers and their employees bring in. All those factors greatly influence the success of the dealership. Some dealers focus on providing the best customer experience and go the extra mile to help customers, whereas other dealers have excellent synchronization among their departments. As a result, they reap high monetary benefits. Notably, the top performing dealerships have a lot in common. 

While the approaches to being successful and metrics to measure performance might vary from dealer to dealer. However, most successful and top performing dealerships share some common traits. The below listed traits could set them apart from their competitors.

If you have the grit to develop the following qualities, you could claim your space among the top-performing dealerships.

1. Ready to adapt and embrace new possibilities:

Alvin Toffler rightly said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ” The dealers who rushed to embrace technology sold more cars in the pandemic-related lockdown. They were successful during the pandemic because they adapted quickly and embraced the change. They found innovative solutions to stay relevant. For instance, they move entirely online, use AI-powered chatbots, and redesign their websites for a pleasant buying experience. In addition, solo test drives, new tools to find customers, virtual F&I, and online paperwork and transactions can contribute to a great customer experience.

A wall street article shows how a dealer benefited by embracing technology. “I truly believe we sold more cars last month because we’re finally utilizing technology more efficiently,” said owner Ryan LaFontaine, whose southeast Michigan chain includes 17 stores selling major brands. According to a survey by cars.com, one in five buyers used home delivery for their vehicle in August 2020. Additionally, 66% of the dealerships said they offer home delivery. This 66% of the dealers adapted to the unexpected situation quickly to win new customers.

2. Successful dealerships know how to handle success:

In the current market conditions, most dealers are making more profits than the past, so they start believing that it will continue until the end of the year. As a result, they tend to focus on the overall profitability and lose sight of increasing PVR (Per Vehicle Retailed) for each car deal. This perception could make them the victim of their own success. Successful dealers have a common trait of being highly ambitious.

They are driven to become better than before, and they do not sit back, relax, and enjoy momentary success. For example, instead of getting comfortable with the current earning and only offering one or two F&I products, understanding customers’ needs is the key. Then,  matching them with multiple ancillary products in the F&I department could considerably grow your PPV (Price Per Vehicle). In other words, the quality of always seeking growth opportunities is the differentiating factor. This is what makes a difference between successful and mediocre dealerships. As said by Frank Sonnenberg, it does not cost more to strive for excellence, but if you settle for mediocrity, it could cost you dearly.

3. Always seeking growth opportunities and taking risks:

Successful dealers do not stop at one accomplishment. They strive to do more and attain higher growth. As a result of their appetite for growth, the successful dealers gain a more significant market share. They take risks for maximum return and minimum liabilities. Successful people value courage, plan for the future, prepare themselves, and move forward fearlessly. In contrast, mediocre dealerships do not have a clear vision of where they are headed and how to achieve more. Besides, they are afraid to take risks even when they know that the easy choice could impact them negatively.

4. Ready to overcomes obstacles:

So many scenarios are changing rapidly in the auto retail sector. For instance, going digital due to the pandemic and encountering inventory shortages due to supply chain disruption. Dealers who were turned obstacles into opportunities are among the most successful ones. For example, local PNW dealer bought a franchised dealership amidst the global shut-down triggered by the pandemic. He successfully grew his monthly retail from 35 sales to around 120 retails. To achieve this tremendous growth, he stuck to his formula of maintaining a solid inventory and efficient staff that keeps the customers coming back. The dealer learned and adjusted his strategies to overcome the challenges. Consequently, he attained a growth of over 200% in average monthly sales.

5. Strong leadership:

The most noticeable trait of successful dealers is their capability to lead. They possess guiding principles and values for themselves and their staff, which act as a compass to guide them towards success. Having a clear vision of where they are and what is next for them to achieve is an essential characteristic of a strong leader. Additionally, discipline to work towards their goal and the potential to lead and motivate others towards growth are the qualities that exist in highly successful dealers.

Notably, the successful dealers possess an excellent leadership trait of caring about the growth and development of their employees. Thus, they ensure to invest in their personnel and take necessary steps to help them be their very best. Furthermore, the profitable dealers understand the value of proper training and development. So, they take this aspect very critically.

To conclude, the dealerships could attain record success and profitability when they are driven by values such as customer centricity, transparency, empathy towards employees’ growth and development. Additionally, traits such as being open to change, innovation, risk, and a positive outlook to overcome challenges are a recipe for success. Finally, developing a growth mindset of continuously improving and achieving more would help dealers claim a space among the top performing dealerships.