Use dealership gift cards to keep customers

Through an outside vendor, you can create dealership gift cards. Resembling a credit card, these gift cards bear your name and carry a predetermined monetary value that your customers can redeem at any location within your dealership. To some dealerships, these cards have proven to be an effective way to ensure future business, and unlike a coupon or VIP card, customers will not throw away cash.

The cards are available for purchase or distribution in any dollar amount. Your cashier simply uses a terminal/reader to “upload” the requested value. As purchases are made, the card is swiped through the terminal and the amount is then subtracted from the account.

Some of the ways to use the card:

  • Prepaying for service. Offer customers the opportunity to prepay for service and include it in their financing.

  • Offer service discounts through the card. Instead of adjusting service bills, put the discount amount in the card, which is used for future services or purchases.

  • Instead of cash for bird-dog referrals.

  • As goodwill for unhappy or disgruntled customers.

  • Selling service and accessories as a gift.

To help promote the card, some have been selling them with a 15% discount. Example; a $100 card can be purchased for $85.

The cost of the card is approximately $2 each.

Here's a formula to make sure you're adequately staffed

Are you staffed adequately to achieve your operational goals? Do you find yourself consistently falling short of your sales objective? Well a possible answer may lie in your current staffing.

Many dealerships never consider the impact of proper staffing with respect to goal achievement.

Let's look at an example.

If your dealership has ten sales people in the used vehicle department and that usually produces between 85 and 110 sales that equals a sales per salesperson ration of about 10 to 1. That is each salesperson produces 10 sales per month.

Now if you want to achieve 150 units on a regular basis, it is probably unlikely that your existing 10 salespeople would achieve this goal month in and month out. That would require a 50% increase in production from each and every salesperson. Not a very likely scenario.

So let's review some staffing formulas for success. First, divide your desired monthly sales volume in units by 10. The result is how many salespeople you need to achieve your goal. If your goal is 200 units, then you need 20 salespeople.

Now before we start adding salespeople to the sale floor let's see if we have the traffic to support them. As a guideline, each sales person needs between 80 and 100 unique “ups” — phone and walk ins — per month. This requires an accurate “up” counting system. This includes the “well-we're-only-looking” folks.

If you have 1,000 “ups,” phone calls and walk ins, per month you need 10 to twelve salespeople to manage the traffic. Now go analyze your staffing and see if you are poised for peak performance.

Money-making minutes is provided by NCM Associates in conjunction with the Automotive Satellite Television Network (ASTN).