Keeping data up-to-date. Maximising your sales potential. Bringing back lost customers. Controlling your stock… When you’re running a car dealership, there are so many plates that need to be kept spinning it’s difficult to make sure that one doesn’t crash to the ground. And if your business is based in more than one location, life can be even tougher.
Happily, help is close at hand… and you could be looking forward to a streamlined and successful future if you get in touch with Contact Advantage. The firm can help you in so many ways, it would be foolish not to at least consider them when you’re thinking about increasing sales, reducing costs and improving profits.
The company’s Bob Feltham was among the speakers at our Profit Clinic and, not surprisingly, hugely impressed by what the firm offers. In fact, as well as extolling the virtues of its products and services, he has walked the walk as well as talked the talk, having implemented their systems into West London Motor Group, Glyn Hopkin and a raft of other dealers across the UK.
Feltham delivered an entertaining speech to the audience at our event, explaining that he joined the motor industry in 1995 as network performance manager for Daewoo Cars and worked on a range of products until the time they were taken over by GM.
He then went on to quote Isaac Asimov, the American author and professor, who said: ‘The only thing you can be sure of is that change is going to be everywhere forever and you have to think like a scientist to get it right.’
A man of many parts, Feltham now combines his work at Contact Advantage with a role running a dealership for one of the major retailers in the UK.
And he gave a clear explanation of how the Contact Advantage effect turned his business around: ‘This was a dealership losing £400,000 a year but in the last year we’ve managed to turn it round. The business was in decline. I didn’t change very much, we refined it a little bit in some places, but most importantly we stuck on 270 used cars.
‘The way we did that was by using some really good programmes which are written into the Contact Advantage system. Some of the things that we believe in at Contact Advantage could make a big difference to your profit and loss account. It’s something that I’ve been putting into practice where I have been working in the last year and it’s something that the guys from CA do all the time.’
It goes without saying really that the whole way businesses interact with their customers has changed fundamentally and drastically in the last few years… and that process isn’t over yet. The internet, mobile phones, texts and emails are all central to any dealership’s relationship with its customers.
Feltham confirmed: ‘Things have absolutely changed from where we were just a few short years ago. When I started in 1995, I doubt the guys from Google had even been born. Facebook hadn’t been invented. The whole thing has been revolutionised over the last five years.
‘Keeping in contact now is much different. Instead of writing letters, everything is done via email and text. Everybody in this room will have a mobile phone and access to a computer. There has been a sea change in how the market’s working. Managing the digital transition is crucial. Is your sales and marketing process keeping up with the change?’
Again, Contact Advantage can help and Feltham went on to explain why data capture is so important: ‘When I went to the dealership I’m looking after at the moment, they had an email data capture rate of 30 per cent and they thought they were doing really well. Now it’s running at 95 per cent.’
Interestingly, Feltham indicated that a key person at a dealership these days might not necessarily be a salesman, but someone at the business who was adept at ‘sucking in email addresses and mobile phone numbers’ – ensuring the information is correct – and entering them into the computer system.
The figure for accessing the internet via mobiles has sky-rocketed, he added, and it was vital for motor retailers must keep pace with Facebook interaction, the tweeting of value messages and simple gestures such as sending an email to say thank you when a customer has either bought a car of had their vehicle serviced.
There were several key points Feltham pressed home in is summing-up:
1. Are the sales force that switched on? Contact Advantage can audit weekly.
2. Contact Advantage can manage your stock for you.
3. Your sales team will be selective in feedback – especially when stock is more than 20 cars. Contact Advantage can help you override that.
4. You can receive automated directors’ data to your mobile daily, with drill-down reports.
Perhaps the message Feltham wanted to hammer home the hardest, though, was the importance of collecting those crucial email addresses. As he said: ‘If you’ve got the email address of a customer, you can keep them for life.’
Let Contact Advantage take control for you and you will soon be reaping the rewards.