The times we live in have certainly changed over the last few weeks. With the introduction of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) into our world, we have heard phrases like “self-quarantine” and “social distancing”, but what does that mean for the average dealership and salesperson?
How is your dealership adapting to this new world we find ourselves in?
How are you responding to the coronavirus and the nervous customers and employees around you?
As states and cities adopt stricter policies like shelter-in-place orders to prevent the spread of the virus, some dealerships are being forced to close their doors or decrease their hours of operation.
“Social distancing” is resulting in increased social media traffic across the country and the world. The coronavirus COVID-19 induced self-quarantine combined with the nationwide closures of bars, restaurants and public venues has led to an uptick in social media consumption as reported by Obviously. The COVID-19 outbreak is making most people spend more time on all social media platforms. As COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which didn’t exist or barely existed during major outbreaks of the past, are facilitating important conversations about the pandemic, while at the same time hosting a platform for sensationalism and misinformation to spread.
The pandemic has changed traditional selling techniques and dealerships need to pivot to keep pace. One of the best things you can do is effectively communicate your dealership’s message during this time in high social media use.
Your customers may very well be attracted to an ad for 0% financing, cashback, March madness deals, or clearance prices, but are they willing to walk into your dealership? If they are not, you need to pivot.
Here are a few examples across the country of car dealerships taking a proactive approach to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and how they are keeping business flowing:
- A Jackson MO dealership wants to ensure all their customers they are adapting (pivoting) to the changes and can help if customers are concerned about coming into the dealership. They have a 100% online buying process where customers can buy and have the vehicle delivered–all online, as well as video messaging capability for a vehicle walk-around.
- A Memphis TN dealership posted a community awareness bulletin with the results from their leadership teams’ commitments to the CDC, WHO, state and local government recommendations as well as using their internet department and sales staff to communicate with customers conveniently online via chat, email, text or by their digital business card or phone. They are also offering vehicle test drives to their customers either at their place of business or home upon request and facilitating purchasing an automobile including delivery without visiting the dealership.
- A Chesterfield MO dealership is navigating this dynamic situation community-by-community and store-by-store. They are adapting the store experience by limiting seating to improve social distancing. This dealership is enabling online scheduling of pickup and delivery for service and delivery for purchases, lease, subscription or rental. They are letting their customers know that while their usual dealership experience may look a little different as we all navigate through this time together; they have prepared their stores to respond quickly to any emerging situation.
Effective communication is the key! The following are a few suggestions for your dealership to implement and communicate with your customers.
Publish the following to your dealership’s websites and all social media channels:
- Follow government protocols and recommendations.
- Health & safety standards you practice and what you are doing differently during this time.
- You may have increased your dealerships cleaning schedule or you may focus on high-traffic areas like the bathroom or waiting rooms, focusing on door handles, etc.
- Clean and disinfect all vehicles when they arrive, and after test drives, or service department visits.
- Make “house calls” to deliver any purchased vehicle or for test drives.
- Identifying symptoms of coronavirus: Get tested if you are…
- running fever.
- have a cough.
- shortness of breath.
- How to protect yourself and others around you:
- Wash your hands.
- Cover your cough & sneeze into a tissue or elbow.
- Avoid touching your face and shaking hands.