Our team here at BG Nebraska are a group of very positive thinkers. We are upbeat and we work hard for positive outcomes in any business situation. However, as people operating a business, we need to be aware of business trends and indicators of where our economy is headed. Any good sailor looks at weather patterns to know how to sail his ship. Currently, there are signs of stormy seas ahead. Our economic future is not going to be smooth sailing. In order to successfully navigate their businesses, those at the helm are going to have to make the right adjustments to be able to weather the storm. We have been talking about this with our staff and wanted to share with you all some information that you might find helpful for weathering hard times.
In the automotive industry, most are predicting that 2016 will be a year that nearly matches auto sales from the record year of 2015. Now, most are starting to back off of that prediction. Most of these predictions are based on what has been seen so far this year in auto sales. The caveat not being taken into consideration is what is happening in the economy in general AND the what history tells us is likely to happen in an election year. Add to that the uncertainty of the candidates in this year’s elections and how unexcited most Americans are about either candidate, this is likely to breed even further precaution in spending.
To coin a phrase from Austin Powers; “So what does it all mean?” It means that we need to prepare. If the economy does indeed slow and vehicle sales start to stagnate, then where will dealerships look to try to increase income? The same they always have – the parts and service departments.
In 2008 when the large recession came, many dealerships went out of business. Those that had a “behind the scenes view” tell us these (now defunct dealerships) had several things in common. The most interesting common factor was they had no fixed operations to speak of. They had low sales, even lower upsell ratios and low survey scores. To summarize – they had nothing to fall back on.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE?
While there is no one “magic bullet”, there are several things that you can put into place to give you a leg up. The 3 most critical things are Technology, Equipment, and Training!
LET’S TALK TECH
The wise repair facilities are investing in and utilizing the latest technology. Things like I-pads, apps, online reservation systems, CRM’s, and electronic multi-point inspections. Having all of these slick bells and whistles are of no benefit however if you don’t actually use them! There is a big difference between having technology, and utilizing it.
The wise repair facilities are not afraid to invest in the latest tools for their shops. They invest in the best and most efficient lifts, alignment racks, battery testers, and electronic tire gauges. These tools are used to engage the customer in the repair process. When the customer is active in the process, room for doubt is removed. But again, having these amazing tools will be meaningless if they are not being used.
CONTINUING EDUCATION (TRAINING)
The wise repair facilities, businesses, and entrepreneurs are continually training. Some “best businesses practices” are to use some form of outside training. Wise business owners and managers will settle for nothing less than maximum results from training. We are passionate about training and education. This is why on any given day, you will see one of our reps in a shop going over how to use equipment with a group of techs or maybe you see one of our reps talking to a customer along side a service consultant.
NOW IS THE TIME
Now is the time to prepare and now is the time to act. Just like the story of the wise man who built a house on a solid foundation – when the storms came, the house stood. Will your dealership, service facility and you stand the test of a storm?
In closing, take the 13 minutes to watch this video.