As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, dealerships have experienced a complete retail reset, and the dealerships you serve will be looking for more than a way to regain profits – they will be looking for answers. - Image by LE MUSIQUE via GettyImages.com

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, dealerships have experienced a complete retail reset, and the dealerships you serve will be looking for more than a way to regain profits – they will be looking for answers.

Image by LE MUSIQUE via GettyImages.com

These past few weeks we have experienced much more than a business interruption. We have experienced a complete retail reset. Likely, none of us will escape without some effect on how we buy things. Our customers will also change in the ways they buy vehicles and the products designed to protect them. The dealerships that you serve will be looking for more than a way to regain profits – they will be looking for answers. Here are a few of the questions you need to be ready to answer.

Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.” – Andy Grove

Do We Have the Right Products?

Now is the perfect time to evaluate the products each dealership has and determine what should be added or reconfigured to give the necessary level of coverage. Not all products were considered useful at one time, such as the antimicrobial protection in most environmental products. However, after this epidemic, can you imagine a customer not being interested in a benefit that sanitizes the interior of a vehicle against virus-causing germ build-up? That benefit is extremely relevant now.

Review if the disappearing deductible is being utilized effectively when a service contract is sold. Driving service-business back to the dealership has never been more critical than now. Many customers will have new concerns, making certain services more critical, such as products that make payments during times of unemployment. The agent that presents the dealership with answers, to yet unasked questions, will be viewed as proactive and a valued partner.

Does My Team Know How to Complete an Offsite Delivery Effectively?

A symptom of the current reset is that more people wish to spend less time at a dealership, and some would desire not to visit a showroom at all. While many F&I offices have software that is capable of a total off-site delivery, few F&I managers know how to do this. Many others don't know how to present menu options or properly present a customer with options.

We must take the time to connect with our dealership's menu company and set up training opportunities that maximize the capabilities of our F&I team. More customers going forward will seek an online option and later come to the dealership for transaction completion. This crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the trend for online options, and we can no longer afford to ignore it. So it's critical to ready your dealerships to this retail shift to get the competitive advantage over slower adapters. This foresight will make you an even more valuable partner.

Are We Ready for the Customer Whose Credit Has Been Adversely Affected by This Crisis?

This crisis has done a lot of damage to many customers’ credit scores. Despite the preventative measures put in place to temporarily limit the economic damage, many will still face a long-term financial struggle.

This struggle will also lead to a more sub-prime customer base. Some dealerships have shied away from the sub-prime customer in the past, but now anyone can find themselves in this financial situation. Now is the time to have this discussion with lenders and start new relationships that can appropriately handle these customers. Have that conversation with your dealer partners and be the catalyst to necessary change.

We have experienced a retail reset. We need to help our dealerships adapt and change because we are the “change agents” they trust.

Rick McCormick is the national account development manager at Reahard & Associates Inc.

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Rick McCormick
Rick McCormick

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Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates.

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Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates.

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