Lot with cars and text that says 4 things you need to know to run a successful car dealership

The auto sales industry is highly competitive. Convincing customers to part with their hard-earned cash to purchase a vehicle requires hard work and dedication. Dealerships that earn acclaim make every effort to offer an experience above and beyond the competition. Their facilities are always well maintained and filled with amenities to make the shopping or repair process as smooth as possible. Car dealers need to hone their skills in four key areas to achieve long-term growth and prosperity.

Car salesman talking to a customer with blue text that says How to Make a Car Dealership Better

1. How to Make a Car Dealership Better

Even if you have a steady stream of customers, you can always improve your car dealership to offer better service. Here are a few steps for gaining a competitive advantage in your industry:

Present a Polished Image

In the auto sales industry, cleanliness is a crucial decision factor for customers. When someone buys a new car, they expect it to be clean inside and out. When spending money on a big-ticket item, customers expect a premium experience to match. More than half of customers say they have avoided a business because it looked dirty. Shiny vehicles and an organized, well-lit lot can attract more customers. When you add used cars to your lot, have them professionally detailed right away.

Inside, freshly cleaned and waxed floors improve customers’ perceptions of the business. Scuffed, dull floors detract from the display vehicles and make customers think less of your cars and services. It’s crucial to have your customer-facing facilities cleaned regularly. You might also require a professional dress code for all employees. The maintenance bay can get messy quickly thanks to dirt and grease tracked in from vehicles, and this lack of cleanliness can affect working conditions. Prioritize cleaning messes to prevent slips and falls and encourage a healthy work environment.

Presenting a professional image is a comprehensive job. The floors, ceilings, maintenance bays and showcase cars all reflect the quality you promise your customers.

Prioritize Customer Service

A new car is the second-most expensive purchase the average person will ever make after a house. They’re likely not replacing their cars often, which makes customer loyalty tricky. After winning over your customers for their first purchase, you want them to return for their next. The average consumer keeps their car for 71.4 months — about six years. How can you get your current customers to come back all those years later? Provide unforgettable service and strong incentives to return to your dealership for maintenance in the meantime. 

Hire and train your employees to provide the utmost care and attention to customers. At least 87% of consumers dislike the dealership experience. Common complaints include feeling taken advantage of or pushed to buy right away. A focus on top-notch customer service and a friendly, stress-free sales process can differentiate you from your competitors. Offer complementary services such as valet parking and amenities like free Wi-Fi and freshly brewed coffee. 

Manage Your Talent Effectively

As with any business, your greatest asset is your team. Staff turnover is a significant problem in the auto dealership industry. It costs the average dealership with 70 employees roughly $500,000 in profits each year. A thorough hiring process, formal training and long-term incentives can dramatically improve your business by boosting retention rates. 

First, search for dedicated talent who is passionate, knowledgeable and ready to learn. Cultivate those skills through comprehensive training, and build a positive workplace culture. Offer opportunities for growth to retain your top performers. 

Your sales reps are critical to your success. Your talent management strategy should involve watching sales performance metrics to help your sales team do well. Set aggressive and achievable sales goals and watch your sales data closely. If you notice a talented sales rep or new hire isn’t hitting their targets, it may be a sign to improve your training program.