In the next six months roughly 2,000 dealerships will go out of business. That's a lot of service business and parts business to be had. But you have to go out and get it.
Develop a plan now and be ready to act when dealerships in your area close.
Here are some ideas to help you capture that business.
- The first step is to reach out to the closed dealership's customers. There are several ways to do this. Whenever a dealership goes dark, try to purchase a mailing list of all the vehicle owners of that store's brand that are in your area. It doesn't matter whether they are the same brands you sell. In fact, it's a great opportunity to introduce your dealership to a whole new set of customers.
- If the closed dealership sells the same brand that your store does, contact the manufacturer and get a list of that dealership's customers. Or contact the dealer. He probably has inventory to get rid of. Get creative and try to work out a deal. Maybe he'll be willing to provide his database of customers.
- A third way is to step up your advertising. A couple of well-place, timely newspaper ads, along with some radio and TV spots is probably smart. Be sure to provide specific service-related offers along with a message that highlights why your business is the dealership to do business with in the community.
- Don't forget about the Internet. Both Google and Yahoo provide geotargeted and demographic display advertising today. That means you can advertise online directly to people in whichever zip code you want, and do it based on their online behavior. Make sure the ads are service-related and take people directly to your service or fixed operations page on your website. Your website provider and search engine vendor can help with this.
- Don't forget about the wholesale customers. It's possible the closed dealership has several wholesale parts accounts that will be looking for someone to fill that void. You know who those accounts are. If you don't, start a list of all the dealerships in your area and find out who they are selling to.