I hope you have all had a successful and enjoyable summer. As we head into the fall, many of you are going out of your peak season. This presents an excellent opportunity to take a deep breath and spend some time re-evaluating who you are and what you want to be from a business perspective.

What are your business’s points of difference (or reason for being) vs. your key competitors? How do you promote your point of difference or reason for being to existing and potential customers?  Do you really know your key competitors strategies and how they go-to-market? Ultimately, customers and competitors have a dramatic impact on the success and fate of your business. Having an up-to-date understanding your position vs. your competitors, and re-evaluating it on a regular basis, is critical to your success.

Let’s start with a look at your dealership with an inward focus:

Inside your dealership

I learned the “4 P’s” concept in my early career in the consumer package goods industry. Product, price, place and promotion.  These 4 P’s are relevant to any business that sells product and services to customers/consumers.

How do you merchandise and present you vehicles and accessories. If you have two or more new brand offerings along with used and refurb, how do you set them up in the store? By Brand? By application? By price point? How do you decide which types of accessories to carry and how to display them? How do you display or showcase your rims, tires, steering wheels, etc.?

On the vehicle side, I have seen excellent examples of utilizing the showroom and parking lot to display vehicles either by price point or using a good, better and best strategy. This allows your sales team to qualify people as they enter the store and take them first to the grouping of vehicles that best fits their budget. Another opportunity is to group them by application type…golf, street legal, off road, commercial. Then within each application type, you may elect to segment by price or tier. Either way, it is very important to have each vehicle marked with a price. Studies have shown that people feel more comfortable when prices are clearly marked when making a high ticket purchase. Conversely, people feel liked they are being “sized up” when they have to ask for the cost of a vehicle. This certainly does not increase your chances of closing a sale if the person does not feel like they can trust your sales people.

Don’t forget to utilize point of sale on each vehicle for monthly payments. Sheffield and Yard Card both offer nice pricing pieces for the windshield of the car. Having an outright buy price, and monthly payment info for those that choose to finance, is the best way to give your customers a choice (and quickly establish a better level of trust).

On the accessory side, use point of sale material/placards to designate different accessory options. Take a lesson from big box retailers. Make it easy for people to find what they are looking for and dress up the area to make it fun to shop. Sadly, the look, feel and organization of the accessories area in the most golf car dealerships is less than adequate and inviting.

Let’s turn to a look outside your four walls at what your competitors are doing:

Understanding your Competition

Most dealers have at least four or five revenue streams: Selling new, used, service, parts and rentals. What plans do you have for building and retaining the business for each of these revenue streams? How do you stand out from your competitors? Lowest price? Better service? More variety? Does your website have the highest SEO rankings for internet searches for golf cars, utility vehicles, LSV’s, etc.?

The way to differentiate in these areas is your “branding”. To decide how to brand yourself, you must first know your competition. What is their “brand”? Is it price? Is it variety? Is it service during and/or after the sale? Sometimes businesses use two or more of these “brands” or “points of difference” to develop their branding strategy.

Once you have evaluated your competitor’s brand(s) and understand where your company can differentiate itself, it is time to develop your brand and put together a detailed strategy and list of tactics to build your brand image.

So, take advantage of your upcoming off-season to re-evaluate your business, and, as important, your competitors business. Executing the same old strategy without re-evaluating is very risky no matter how successful your business is today.

Questions, comments or suggestions are welcomed and can be sent to Joewallington@jhglobalinc.com.

Let’s sell some EV’s!!