This summer I got a call from a friend asking if I knew of any Toyota dealerships that can help her find a Toyota Tacoma. She lives in Northern California and was unable to locate one – new or used. This may sound like a familiar scenario for shoppers across the country with dealerships scrambling to find inventory, especially on pickup trucks. It seems this pandemic has put everything in short supply – in Southern California, we feel a housing shortage, the wait for a jacuzzi is about 40 weeks and the price of lumber has gone up 40%!! As you can probably tell, our family is also feeling the growing pains of being trapped in our house.
Why this inventory shortage in automotive? Well, at the beginning of the pandemic, many OEMs slowed or shut down operations. Even though most are back up and running now, there still seems to be a backlog for inventory. That coupled with the fact that Americans are now hitting the road, instead of flying, has created some lost opportunities for dealerships. However, those dealers that were able to overcome these shortages were indeed able to thrive.
Here are three things that dealerships can do to alleviate some of the inventory issues that they face:
- Ask for the trade at every opportunity! Whenever your sales person speaks to a shopper, they should ask them about the car they may consider trading in. The salesperson misses this critical opportunity when they respond unenthusiastically about the trade or even suggest that the client sell it independently. Making sure that the salesperson asks the right questions on the trade, and generates excitement for it, is crucial. Taking in trades is a great way to build up your used inventory and when your salesperson knows how to effectively “hook the trade”, you’ll see the results.
- Sell out of service. In line with getting more trades, what is more valuable to you than cars you already service? Having a dedicated salesperson working out of the service department to help shoppers upgrade their vehicle is a great way to build your used inventory and move new inventory off the lot.
- Leverage your database. Gone are the days of shoppers walking in off the street, at least during this pandemic. It’s important that your sales team is staying in contact with their sold customers and getting them back into the dealership before they’re actively shopping for a car. This coupled with #1 is a sure fire way to move inventory and help alleviate shortages.
Being agile and adjusting to change is critical during these times of uncertainty. Things will normalize in time, but for now, being creative and adapting to the changing times is most important and will prove to be advantageous in the long run. Luckily we have the processes and word tracks for your team to use to maximize all their opportunities. Schedule a demo to learn how we can help drive more traffic to your dealership’s showroom.