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What are your dealership’s New Year’s resolutions?

By Liz Keener

It will happen. This week local gyms will be full of people; those you’ve never seen before will be clamoring in the door with hopes of achieving their New Year’s resolution to get fit. By Feb. 1, the crowd will taper off. Those who have stuck with their plans will still be there, while those who weren’t as committed will have dropped off.

Usually we think of New Year’s resolutions as personal improvement goals, but you can also implement New Year’s resolutions for your business. The key is to pick just one, two or three things you’d like to improve that you believe you can stick to all year. A few come to mind, but think about your own situation and what your dealership could stand to improve.

A few suggestions:

Implement a weekly deep cleaning of your showroom. Maybe you only deep clean once a month or once a year; think about doing so more often. A clean dealership is one that consumers want to buy from. Have you ever been in a store that has dusty boxes on shelves? As soon as you go to pick up that product, you think twice because: A.) You don’t want to get dirty, and B.) The product seems out of date because it has obviously been on the shelf for a while. Think about hiring a cleaning crew to come in an sweep, mop, vacuum and dust once a week, or assign some of these tasks to your team members, if that works for your store.

Keep up with social media. Sure, almost every dealership has at least a Facebook page, but when was the last time yours was updated? If you can’t afford a full-time social media manager, consider hiring someone part-time or on a contract. Or ask your staff; there may be a salesperson you can trust who’s an enthusiast who can connect with your customers. Of course you want to be extremely prudent with whom you trust your brand’s page with, but if you truly trust someone to rep your dealership, go ahead and give them the reins. If your Facebook is on track, consider adding Instagram or Snapchat to the mix.

Increase staff training. Even your most veteran staffers can use a refresher course. Consider adding weekly or monthly meetings with roleplaying for your staff. Add some sales webinars in the mix. And plan to send an extra employee or two to MDCE in 2017.

Add more events or change up your current events. If you only host an open house or two each year, consider increasing your event load to once per quarter or once per month. From talking to dealers, we’ve learned that frequent events create loyalty to your dealership and camaraderie among your customers, and they lead to increased accessory and boat sales. If you’re already hosting a good number of events, think about how you can change up the annual ones so they’re not exactly the same as in 2016. If you notice customers are bringing their kids but you don’t have any kid-friendly activities, add some. If you’ve offered the same hot dogs at your spring open house for five years, try burgers this year. Think about mixing it up and continuing to make your customers happy.

Again, these are just suggestions. Consider what will work best for your dealership and stick with it for all of 2017. Don’t be that person who doesn’t show up at the gym on Feb. 1.

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