The landscape for automotive sales is constantly presenting new challenges. Sales goals are always under pressure. New products and more technology-driven features are giving consumers more exciting choices and changing the competitive field. Demands on brands for growth end up landing on the shoulders of the dealer network to move inventory while delivering to the brand’s standards. But as consumer’s expectations evolve upwards, the need to provide a customer experience that continues to delight compounds the challenges dealers face to build their business.
According to IBM’s Automotive 2025 report, 71% percent of manufacturers see the biggest amount of disruption happening in the retail channels of their business. One OEM executive commented, “Retail models will have to be more flexible in order to leverage customers’ demands.” And yet, many dealers are ill-prepared for how to handle these disruptions to their selling practices. Furthermore, manufacturers have not significantly increased their field force headcount, resulting in a “support gap”.
Retail Models will have to be More Flexible in Order to Leverage Customer’s Demands
The tools that manufacturers have traditionally used to build sales vary from long term strategies to short term tactics – product planning and facility programs to promotions and incentives. Yet these tools can come up short if the dealers are not adequately informed, instructed, and engaged to execute. Results from the latest NADA Dealer Attitude Survey suggest that field personnel scores are in decline. This is more evidence that the dealer support gap is leaving significant revenue on the table.
Additionally, there is the actual proficiency of the dealer in being an outstanding retailer. Awareness of best practices and ways to be more effective and efficient vary greatly across any manufacturer’s dealer network. Despite the desire and passion to be successful, many dealers are faced with the anxiety of being uncertain with how to meet sales goals and satisfy their manufacturer commitments. It is without question that increasing dealer skills and the institution of best-practices can increase both units sold and overall revenue while positively impacting CSI scores.
A strong dealer network is fundamental to every brand’s success. A dealer body that excels in retail execution and business acumen has a true competitive advantage. The dealer adds value to the vehicle while building value for the brand, and there is an abundance of untapped potential for increasing sales when given access to retail coaching and experienced advisors. Unfortunately, current field force workloads often prohibit this kind of individual consultation and subject matter expertise.
A Strong Dealer Network is Fundamental to Every Brand’s Success
As current field forces commit their time to required administrative and allocation tasks, revenue potential is often neglected in several key areas:
- Lead Development & Management
- Modern Sales Process & Productivity
- Certified Pre-Owned Operations
- Fixed Operations Business Development
- Maximizing ROI on Dealer Incentive Programs
Better engagement with dealers to fill these gaps will result in more money for the dealer and more cars sold for the manufacturer.
There is a solution—brands can successfully outsource individual dealer consulting to strengthen the network while letting their field force focus on their current roles and responsibilities. In 2017, ChangeUp provided retail performance consulting on behalf of a global luxury automobile manufacturer to a select group of dealers identified as having unrealized potential. The results were impressive – achieving 10-12% increases in new vehicle sales and even higher CPO sales increases versus similar, non-consulted dealers. These dealers are sustaining these improvements, and 100% are “likely to recommend” ChangeUp to another dealer.
When the ChangeUp team of consultants are invited by manufacturers to provide retail consulting and help support and the dealer body, the results are:
- More cars sold – and in many cases, doubling throughput for individual dealers
- More profitable dealers – strengthening relationships with manufacturers built on trust and a loyalty to the brand
- More engaged dealers – increasing value for the individual franchises, elevating the overall brand value and presence for the manufacturer
It’s time to innovate how your field force can be augmented, to strengthen your network and drive more results.
If you would like to talk about how ChangeUp can help your dealer body be more productive and profitable, please give us a call at 844.804.7700
ChangeUp is a retail business strategy and brand experience firm that specializes in automotive consulting. We have worked with companies to enhance their performance for over 30 years. Our experience in the auto industry with companies like Audi, GM, Lexus, and Honda gives us a solid understanding of the automotive landscape.
Our team of consultants are committed to working with our clients to deliver innovative yet pragmatic solutions that provide tangible business value.