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10 Key steps to running a successful car dealership

There are hundreds of things to consider when trying to run a successful car dealership. Though this is not a complete list, this brief guide should help you get started.

When running a successful car dealership, it is important to:

Pre-prepare for challenges.It is important to pre-prepare for challenges for your dealership and for each department specifically. When you are able to overcome obstacles easily, your department managers and other staff will learn to do the same.

Offer competitive pay plans. See examples of competitive pay plans for Service Advisors, Car Salesmen, and BDC agents.

Avoid employee turnover. Nobody wants their newly hired employees to leave, but there are steps you can take to reduce turnover in your dealership.

Provide attainable incentives. Of course you want your employees to “reach for the stars,” but make sure they have incentives they can reach along the way.

Set realistic (but difficult) goals. Inform your team on why that is the goal and how they can achieve it. Your staff are more likely to hit their goals if they can see your vision.

Empower and respect your employees. Ensure your team knows they are more than just “subordinates.” Treat your employees like human beings and provide positive reinforcement.

Have employees cross train. This helps your dealership in three ways. 1. You have coverage if someone is sick or unexpectedly quits. 2. It tells your employees that you see value in them and that they have the opportunity to grow in your dealership. 3. This allows you to promote from within. This will not just increase morale, it will make sure you know the real personality of the person accepting the new position.

Figure out ways to increase PVR without denying retail sales. Obviously, finding ways to increase revenue is vital for every successful dealership.

Provide unique customer incentives. Offering customer incentives will not only bring people to your dealership initially, but it will encourage them to refer their family and friends and to return to you when they are back in the market.

Build trust with your customers. Trust is one of the most difficult things to acquire from a customer (along with their signature). Finding ways to build rapport and gain trust is crucial to long-term dealership success.

Trust building shouldn’t stop once the customer agrees to buy. It should be continued throughout the buying process and even after the sale. To do this, offer Vehicle Service Contracts on used cars and make it easy for customers to make payments with a free Subprime Payment App. You can also build trust by staying connected with your customers and providing maintenance coupons through your own Branded Dealer Smartphone App. 

For additional information, contact Patriot Asset Management at or 833-726-0767.


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