Source: iStock

This was originally published on Automotive News.

COVID-19 is a worthy stressor for the automotive industry. Much has been written about supply chain preparation, but I’ve seen far less content on the impact for dealerships. 

I have a few ideas for dealers:

First, leverage online shopping trends. A portion of the virus’s economic impact will be due to lower productivity from people working from home, where they’re more likely to waste time on activities like shopping online. But there is an opportunity for automotive where inventory is online. If dealers use a sales enablement tool to see when leads are back online, increased online shopping when paired with strong follow-up could increase sales over the long run. My guess is prospective buyers will be more likely to take calls when working from home, so follow-up may be more productive as well. 

Second, use good people policies to support recruiting and retention. Having strong employee-first policies during times of crisis goes a long way. Dealerships have an opportunity to protect their staff, engender loyalty and maybe even lure strong sales performers from other dealerships by being more flexible than the average employer.

Third, be better equipped than the competition. Foureyes data shows that on a typical day, 28 percent of sales calls fail to get logged in the CRM. If COVID-19 forces a change in operations, that number is likely to spike. Businesses using technology to automatically log phone leads and send text alerts to sales staff will fare better.