No one knows how long this Coronavirus situation is going to last, or the impact it’s going to have on dealerships. One thing we know for certain, most dealerships cannot afford to panic and shut down operations. That’s why we’ve put together this list of precautions to consider for the days to come to help your dealership weather the storm.
Increase in-store sanitation efforts
Task specific employees with the job of wiping down high-traffic surfaces once per hour with disinfecting wipes. This includes door handles, the reception desk surface, sales tables or desks, telephone receivers, computer keyboards touched by customers, etc.
Consider also creating routine disinfecting procedures for vehicles before and after a test-drive. If you can get ahold of latex gloves, consider putting some in each vehicle and asking customers to wear them while driving.
These measures will not only be more sanitary and help stop the spread of disease, but they’ll also make your customers feel more comfortable at your store.
Look for opportunities to create space
Encourage salespeople to keep a safe distance from customers, six feet is recommended. Instead of a handshake greeting encourage your staff to offer a friendly wave. And increase the distance between seating in your waiting area for customers.
Offer digital buying options to your customers like communication through text, phone calls and emails. And even consider reducing the number of test-drives provided. If a deal can be done without a test drive, go for it. If it’s feasible for you to allow customers to test-drive a vehicle without a salesperson present, consider that too.
Keep tabs on the health of your team
Monitor the health of every employee and their family members or people they share a home with. If someone feels ill or has a family member that feels ill, encourage that employee to stay home. Consider making your sick time policies for all employees more flexible and lenient.
Check your Business insurance
Do you have business insurance? Do you have business interruption insurance? If so, look into whether or not this could be a qualifying event, and what documentation you need to begin gathering to be prepared to make a claim.
Apply realistic thinking
None of us can predict the future, and nobody knows for sure what will happen. But odds are that most communities in the US will not be severely impacted by the virus. There will be multiple areas, most likely big cities, where the impact is felt the greatest. And the farther away from those areas you are, the less the “health” impact will be. The far greater impact will be the “public” and media response to this crisis.
As a business leader in your area you can choose whether or not to under-react, over-react, or intelligently respond. And if you run into slow days or weeks, train like crazy and role play so your team is ready to bounce back right away after this thing passes.
Keep the leads and traffic flowing for as long as you can
There may come a time when significant business disruption is unavoidable, like what’s going on in Italy, but don’t be quick to create that disruption yourself.
If you start turning your lead flow down, or off completely, while you’re still able to be open for business you’re robbing yourself of opportunity and profits you may desperately need later. What’s more, when things get rolling again, and they will, you’ll want to have a full pipeline to sell from—so you can hit the ground running.
If you do see a lull in business, be confident that there will be pent up demand waiting for you on the other side. And that pent-up demand will be there for the taking when things start getting back to normal. But if you let your voice in the market diminish, it may be replaced by someone else’s voice later.
So stay strong. Keep generating leads, setting appointments, and selling cars for as long as you possibly can.
Be a calm captain through the storm
Your entire team is going to need you. They’re going to need you to be a rock in a tumultuous sea. Don’t back down from the challenge. Don’t act erratically. Be calm, confident, cautious and follow your heart.
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Get A Strong Support System Of Success-Minded
At the end of this thing, if you want to come out better and stronger, you need a strong support system who is going to help you work through each of the new challenges these crazy times throw at us. Our network of success-minded dealers across the country is focused on not just getting by right now, but capitalizing on the opportunity that lies in front of them. There are still people out there who need your help. They need you to be a positive voice in the community, and some of them, now more than ever, need your help finding a nicer, more reliable vehicle.
The dealers we work with have been masterminding online 24/7 since this thing began, discussing everything from the best way to take care of their staff to the best way to keep their lot running the best it can be. It’s like the answer to every question you’ve ever had, all on-demand and in one place. There’s no contests or competition, just dealers eager to support each other and help you reach your goals.
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