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Be the Boss: Tips for Starting Your Own Car Dealership

Tired of working long hours to stuff someone else’s pocket?…
a room full of computer monitors

Tired of working long hours to stuff someone else’s pocket? Ready for your turn in the driver’s seat? Perhaps it’s time for you to consider starting your car dealership. You get to call the shots. You get to make the big decisions. Most importantly, you’re 100% in control. Of course, with anything worth pursuing, you’ve got to put in some effort to succeed. Here are some of the top tips to keep in mind when you’re gearing up to start your car dealership.

Marketing is still important

Unlike many larger corporations, your marketing doesn’t have to extend much past your immediate region. That’s because, ultimately, you’ll only be selling to individuals who live nearby. However, this doesn’t mean that you can skimp on your marketing efforts. Since car dealerships can be fairly competitive, it’s key to know where exactly you should allocate your efforts. Sure, traditional marketing is still valid. Flyers, posters, and letters can occasionally serve their purpose. But with tech advancements, if you’re not doing a few things digitally, you’re likely to fall behind the competition.

Geofencing, in particular, is something that can boost your marketing efforts considerably. With geofencing, you’re essentially setting up virtual parameters. That means you’re better equipped to focus on the local markets without wasting money on nationwide campaigns. It’s a great way to hone in on the areas that matter and exclude the ones that won’t bring you qualified leads. 

And of course, speaking of digital marketing, it’s increasingly important to have both a website and some form of social media presence, no matter how meager it may be. Your digital footprint isn’t a set it and forget it fix, either. An unattended website or social page is just as ineffective as not having either so make sure you’re able to handle regular updates yourself or that you can pay for marketing support.

Improve your skill set

Who are you more likely to buy from: Someone who has automotive and diesel certifications or someone who doesn’t? Chances are, you said the former. Especially if you’re interested in joining the market for salvage cars, it’s important to have the background and skills that instill confidence in your customers. Nowadays, many buyers prefer to have their vehicles serviced at the dealership they purchased from, so a couple of courses, certifications, and mechanical lessons can’t hurt.

This also helps when it comes to the sales process. If you’re certified, well-informed, and confident about your product, it becomes that much easier to field customer questions, give definitive statements on vehicle maintenance, and sell to a potentially skeptical customer. Never discount the value that continued learning can add to your business. The more qualified you seem, the higher the likelihood is that you’ll attract discerning customers. Anything you can do to boost your resume, so to speak, can provide pretty noticeable returns on your bottom line.

Don’t push too hard

The “used car salesman” stereotype exists for a reason. In the world of sales, most representatives are seen as pushy and overbearing. Naturally, this tends to send customers running for the hills. If, during the sales process, it comes across as though you’re trying a little too hard to close the deal, don’t be surprised if the prospect turns tail. Try to relax. Focus on being conversational and friendly. People are more likely to buy from someone they trust, after all.

Running a car dealership isn’t for everyone but it can provide immense dividends. Do your research, look into the capital you’ll need to get going, and before you know it, you could be looking at opening a second location. Nobody said being an entrepreneur is easy, but it doesn’t have to be quite so difficult, either.