For many of you, the season has slowed down and you are getting a chance to catch your breath for the first time. While it is important to grab some much-needed rest as you end your 2019 seasonal journey, it’s also the perfect time to reflect on the season while it is still fresh in your mind. This is the time that we begin working with the dealerships we consult with to get their sales goals and dealership objectives set for the next year.
Take a moment and give some thought to how well your service department functioned during the 2019 season. Were things flowing well? Did you have a quick turn-around time for your customers? Did you notice an unusual number of comebacks or redos? Did your techs improve their efficiencies? Were you able to deliver the customer experience you had hoped to deliver during your busiest time? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, your offseason goals should be to develop new or better processes to fix those issues before the 2020 season starts.
The same is true for both your parts department and your sales department. In your parts department, did you have a good fill rate out of stocking inventory? Were you maximizing your margins on parts that are captive while making sure you are competitively priced on items that are price sensitive? What was your transaction time at the parts counter? Is it possible for your parts people to move the fastest moving parts closer to the parts counter to cut out a few steps for the customers they are taking care of? Do you need to reset your parts displays so that each display is producing at least $400 of gross profit per square foot per year? Is it time to give your parts counter a fresh look by replacing old or dated signage? Again, your offseason goal for your parts department is to make changes to fix any issue that needs to be addressed.
Finally, in the wholegoods side of your dealership, look at your display areas inside and out. Are there any changes you would make to how you display your equipment? Are there better ways to “showcase” the new models your manufacturers are building for the new season? Can you improve on your follow-up with leads you are getting? Can you improve your margins by offering service packages as a part of the equipment sale? During the off season is the time to make the changes you need to improve your profitability and customer experience as you move into the 2020 season.
I would encourage each of you to not waste the next 90 days, and to use this time to get laser focused on improvements you can make that will help drive you and your dealership to a strong and profitable 2020.