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Coronavirus - the Automotive Industry and your Dealership

Increase Test Drive Appointments!

Zhendrix

4 Pounder
Apr 22, 2009
79
94
First Name
Zach
In addition to helping keep consumers stay engaged during the global crisis... It's important to consider what the new normal will be.

Paraphrase - "Early evidence suggests that consumers are engaging in online purchases that they previously would have accomplished at a "brick and mortar" location during the current global crisis." - MarketingLand. OK. Duh. :)

But as panic buying subsides, will this global crisis make lasting changes to the automotive consumer psychology?

Consumer purchasing behavior, the "what and where" people buy can change on a dime. The "Why" they buy is far more stable and predictable. A key component in consumer purchasing behavior is control or "sense of agency" in psychological terms.

We tested this consumer control last week. Early evidence shows that consumers are engaging when the correct payment is listed in ads and continuing their process online via digital retailing tools. More to come.
 
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Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
639
662
First Name
Rick
I haven't read the entire thread yet but, I want to pose this question to the forum and give you something to think about with your current staffing schedule as well! This was brought up in one of our meetings. What would happen if one of your sales staff contracted the virus and then came to work not knowing and exposed your staff to the virus? Would you shut down your store and quarantine everyone for 14 days? Do you guys have anything in place for rotating your staff if in the event one of your staff does get exposed, you wouldn't put the entire staff in the dealership at risk.
 

Auto_NC

Push Start
Feb 18, 2020
10
8
First Name
Bryan
I haven't read the entire thread yet but, I want to pose this question to the forum and give you something to think about with your current staffing schedule as well! This was brought up in one of our meetings. What would happen if one of your sales staff contracted the virus and then came to work not knowing and exposed your staff to the virus? Would you shut down your store and quarantine everyone for 14 days? Do you guys have anything in place for rotating your staff if in the event one of your staff does get exposed, you wouldn't put the entire staff in the dealership at risk.
It's definitely a smart thing to be thinking about. However, I think a lot of it hangs on just how easily this virus can spread. Even on a rotating schedule, employees are likely overlapping on the same people they interact with/surfaces they are touching. So if this thing can spread as easily as it seems, may not make a difference.
 
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Reactions: Brittany

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
639
662
First Name
Rick
@Auto_NC from most of the things that I've read thats posted by Dealerships, we are basically preparing to safeguard ourselves from customers carrying the virus and no one has really said anything about what they would do if a employee actually would be the one to bring it inside the dealership. A customer would expose it to maybe 4 or 5 ppl / employees, whereas a employee could expose it to the entire dealerships staff. Thats why I was wondering if anyone has thought about staffing schedules and reducing it down to smaller teams. That way if someone on the team is infected, a smaller amount of staff is actually exposed to that person.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,952
1,639
First Name
Alex
I haven't read the entire thread yet but, I want to pose this question to the forum and give you something to think about with your current staffing schedule as well! This was brought up in one of our meetings. What would happen if one of your sales staff contracted the virus and then came to work not knowing and exposed your staff to the virus? Would you shut down your store and quarantine everyone for 14 days? Do you guys have anything in place for rotating your staff if in the event one of your staff does get exposed, you wouldn't put the entire staff in the dealership at risk.
I think we are at a point where that is socially-mandated. Although this is a food business one of the local high-end meat markets' owners tested positive:


The only reason he was tested is due to his wife going into labor while he was showing flu-like symptoms :eek2:

That aside, if word got out you didn't close down for 14 days and take insane sanitary measures the public perception could be more damaging. If I were in that predicament, as a business owner, I would market the crap out of it!
  • Let everyone know we closed it down and take photos of people in "hazmat" suits cleaning the dealership. Post on your homepage and Facebook.
  • Write Facebook posts and blog articles about what it is like to clean up after a COVID-19 positive testing in a car dealership
  • Watch Brian Pasch's webinar to gather ideas - there is one about steering wheel wrappers that could be good to utilize and also market
  • Develop a way to do oil changes and other light maintenances in the customer's driveway
  • Develop a way to do "in-driveway-no-touch" trade appraisals
  • Send emails with all the updated interest rate changes, rebates, etc.
  • Do a countdown to reopening with a crazy sale at our "freshly sterilized" dealership
  • And because you use FRIKINtech's illumiQUOTE, Rick, I'd be sending that daily to all prospects to inform them they can still shop your entire inventory to see payments and price with all taxes and fees included so there are no surprises when the time comes to buy.
 
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Reactions: Rick Buffkin

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,731
1,301
First Name
Jeff
I haven't read the entire thread yet but, I want to pose this question to the forum and give you something to think about with your current staffing schedule as well! This was brought up in one of our meetings. What would happen if one of your sales staff contracted the virus and then came to work not knowing and exposed your staff to the virus? Would you shut down your store and quarantine everyone for 14 days? Do you guys have anything in place for rotating your staff if in the event one of your staff does get exposed, you wouldn't put the entire staff in the dealership at risk.
We had 2 (Tech and F&I) people out on business/vacation trips and returned over the weekend. They were informed not to return to work for 2 weeks. We will continue to pay them but they need to make up those hours over a period of time.

If you feel sick - STAY HOME for 2 weeks and we will determine who all at the dealership they have had contact with. Which of course could mean shutting down the dealership for however long.
 
Apr 28, 2009
1,175
366
First Name
Jerry
At Phone Ninjas, we are suggesting the following to keep your dealership prospering during these difficult times:

1. Schedule an appointment to bring the vehicle to your customers office or home.
2. Arm each salesperson with a box of latex gloves to offer customers prior test drives.
3. Schedule an online numbers presentation using an online screen sharing tool such as join.me
4. Offer to then complete the sale and delivery at the customers location.

Being Proactive

1. Since banks seem to be buying deeper, search your CRM for customers who did not get prior approval.
2. Contact all customers you were close with on numbers and work the process with the above mentioned process.
3. Implement a buyback program and start working your service department.
4. Give the consumer a good reason why now is a good time to purchase an automobile.
5. Manufacturers have or will come out with some really nice programs to help, capitalize on this!
6. Get creative with your marketing and advertising.
7. Most importantly, hold your team accountable and execute on everything mentioned above!

Our current situation does not mean you need to close your business, you just need to work a little smarter and harder. There's no better time than now to make sure your team is trained and executing as they should be. You can be a victim, or you can be a survivor, it all starts with leadership! And I say all this above, because we have not seen a drop in phone calls to dealerships, this tells me consumers are looking for deals.
 

Joe Friedrichsen

Just Get'm In
Jun 19, 2019
46
34
First Name
Joe
In addition to helping keep consumers stay engaged during the global crisis... It's important to consider what the new normal will be.

Paraphrase - "Early evidence suggests that consumers are engaging in online purchases that they previously would have accomplished at a "brick and mortar" location during the current global crisis." - MarketingLand. OK. Duh. :)

But as panic buying subsides, will this global crisis make lasting changes to the automotive consumer psychology?

Consumer purchasing behavior, the "what and where" people buy can change on a dime. The "Why" they buy is far more stable and predictable. A key component in consumer purchasing behavior is control or "sense of agency" in psychological terms.

We tested this consumer control last week. Early evidence shows that consumers are engaging when the correct payment is listed in ads and continuing their process online via digital retailing tools. More to come.
Interesting thought. In my opinion, I think the new normal will consist of many dealerships reinvesting in digital marketing/advertising because of the role it's playing right now with so many shoppers online and dealerships being forced to close.

Whether dealerships are forcibly closed or not, digital advertising is crucial to bringing in sales at this time. Not to mention, dealerships simply have a need to let customers know they're even open via GMB and their website.

Once this pandemic starts winding down, and we return to some semblance of normal, there will be a greater appreciation on the part of dealerships for what digital advertising and digital marketing can do for their dealer.

Though normal processes will of course resume, digital marketing will play a MUCH greater role in dealerships' overall sales strategies once this is all said and done.
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,731
1,301
First Name
Jeff
NADA Launches Coronavirus Website Hub

NADA has launched a new section of its website, the NADA Coronavirus Hub, for local dealerships looking for information on NADA’s government advocacy, regulatory compliance, educational resources, webinars and government resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The site is updated around the clock, and includes all material published or distributed by NADA on coronavirus.