Best PracticesDealership Marketing

The Salesman’s CoronaVirus Survival Guide

We are living in unprecedented times with the Corona Virus forcing state’s to issue stay at home orders, social distancing, and business shut downs. This unknown is causing fear, confusion, not to mention, destroying daily routines. It leads to a feeling that we aren’t in control of our lives anymore. Now, most dealers I have spoken to are still open, however many have reduced staff and/or hours due to lack of business. As you already know, walk in traffic is beyond very low.

I am sure you’re asking yourself, “What’s the fix, how will I survive if this continues for 2 months?” For an answer let’s turn to Theodore Roosevelt for advice, who said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Or the short version… “Control what you can control.”

Today I would like to offer my top 3 tips for taking back some control by managing your time properly while you’re at the dealership.

Tip #1 Call your Clients

Right now most everyone is at home and have time to talk. NADA says 30% of your client base has a friend or family member who will be in the vehicle market in 90 days. You’ll never have a better connection rate. If you run out of clients to call, ask a manager for a 90 lease maturity list or service orphans. When you make contact your initial content will be dissimilar since you have different personal relationships with each of them, but all of your calls at some point should include: Joe Verde’s 5 Prospecting Questions (see below).

Here’s how it could sound….
I’m just updating my records, can I ask you a quick couple of questions? (Verify mailing, email and cell #) Then…

  • How many drivers are in your family?
  • And how many vehicles do you guys have?
  • Of the drivers in the family, who would be next in line for a new or used vehicle?
  • Oh, you’re kidding. Now when you say soon, do you mean like weeks, months or next year?
  • And will he be leaning toward new or used?

Tip #2 Do new vehicle walk around presentation videos

Pick a new vehicle to be the subject of focus every day. Study it, drive it, and then do a walk around video for it. Put it on Facebook, YouTube, Tic Tok.

This will help in several ways:

  1. It gives you a purpose & feeling of control. Idol minds are the devils playground and waiting for someone to call or come in will lead to negative thoughts or self-talk. During normal times, if we aren’t deliberate in maintaining a positive attitude we will default to negative. Well during these trying times, it’s doesn’t take much to default to rotten thinking.
  2. The videos will promote YOU & help to conduct e-commerce. Right now most dealers are advertising that you can buy a car with never stepping on the showroom. These videos can take the place of an in person presentation. Let’s say during one of your prospecting calls you find that in the fall your guest is considering a new Ford Mustang. You could sent them the video to provide more information, keep your name top of mind, & who knows, maybe move the sale forward due to the unprecedented Corona Virus manufacturer incentives!
  3. And what about internet leads? I don’t know how your store distributes these leads, but if you already have a video created for this lead’s vehicle of interest, to me you’d be the obvious choice to work that lead.
  4. It will improve your presentations and walk arounds. NADA Statistics show that 80% of the value is built in the Presentation & Demonstration stage.

It’s just human nature that when your performance is being recorded, you’ll put your best foot forward. It will serve as a role play. The extra practice will give you confidence.

Tip #3 Develop a REAL e-commerce strategy, starting with home delivery

During these crazy times I keep thinking a Napoleon Hill quote, “Every adversity has the seed for an equal or greater benefit for those who maintain a positive attitude.”

Maybe is will force us dealers to, “walk the walk,” that, “we like to talk….” What do I mean? Well for the past 10 years almost every car dealer advertises, promises, and touts..

“Buy a car from the comfort of your home”
“We’ll bring it or ship it to you…”
“Complete your transaction and never step foot in the showroom.”

While some dealers live by those words, I found for most it’s more of “marketing campaign” or “me too”, than a solid e-commerce strategy.

It’s 20-20, a paradigm shift was inevitable and maybe this global health crisis is the tipping point. Maybe are forced to figure out how to make e-commerce work.

We might look back 20 years from now and say, “well the Corona Virus forced us to figure this e-commerce thing out for real. I know I am not the smartest person on the internet and the best ideas come from you, which brings me to this question, what are you doing now to, water this current seed of adversity? How are you making lemonade? I would love to hear your story.

Please help out your peers by leaving a comment as to what your dealership or you personally are doing to address the reduction of business.

Started in Automotive in 1991. Spent 19 years at Chevrolet dealer serving as salesman, finance manager, sales manager, and general sales manager. I lo...