Opinion: 4 Best Practices for Buy Here Pay Here Dealerships

By Zach Klempf, CEO of Selly Automotive

According to a survey by cars.com, 93% of people say they are now using a personal vehicle more than they were pre-pandemic, and it’s unlikely that this use will decrease any time soon. The economic downturn and the high number of unemployed individuals will drive people to turn more frequently to buy here pay here dealerships, as they are unable to pursue traditional financing. Although best practices are always critical to success at a buy here pay here dealership, implementation now will increase dealers’ ability to flourish and thrive. Here are four best practices we’ve gathered for your buy here pay here dealership.

1. Give Your Sales Team the Training They Need

You already know that your people are the core of your business and its most valuable asset and resource. Appropriate and relevant training sets up your salespeople to have the right information at the right moment for the customer.

Sales skills such as negotiation, overcoming objections, and closing the deal are perhaps some of the first areas that come to mind. However, compliance is one of the most important areas to remember for ongoing training, especially as regulations and laws change frequently. If your salespeople take action that is outside of compliance, the consequences will fall back on you. Make use of industry organizations, such as NIADA, which often offer up-to-date training.

Systems training for your team is also critical. Do they understand how to use your CRM? How to access templates for emails and SMS text templates? What about basic marketing tasks you expect them to complete, such as replying to Facebook Messenger chats?

2. Make Sure Your Website Is Working for You 

Buy here pay here dealers understand the importance of maintaining the right inventory for their customer base: inventory that is dependable and will last for the terms of the deal; inventory that is diverse and will capture your customers’ interests and needs; and inventory that is clean and well-presented. In the past, this has been enough, but now, it’s critical that your digital home meet these standards as well.

According to McKinsey & Company, 75% of Americans have tried new shopping behaviors due to COVID-19, including no-contact orders and deliveries. Customers have become more and more comfortable with the pre-shopping experience and the subsequent purchase occurring online.

With your dealership’s website, you want to ensure that it’s maximized for both information and function. It should look appealing and be mobile friendly. List inventory and provide detailed, compelling descriptions and attractive photographs, or even video tours. Consider expanded chat functions and the ability to obtain pre-approval, and complete paperwork or submit financial identification ahead of time seamlessly. Share video testimonials from customers who purchase and finance their vehicle with you for a more personalized connection.

Websites that are inviting, functional, and compelling are the foundation of a robust digital marketing strategy, critical as we move into the digital future. Carvana, for example, understands the importance of this approach and has leveraged it to fuel their growth.

3. Strengthen Relationships with Automated Marketing and Lead Nurturing

Maybe your buy here pay here dealership is already doing community outreach programs or meeting a specific need of your local community. It’s essential to nurture and develop the relationships begun during that outreach while they’re still warm. But how?

More than ever before, customers expect personalized communication that addresses their needs and holds their attention. Thanks to digital giants such as Facebook, Google, and Netflix, who use their data insights to ensure customers receive (and enjoy) a unique-to-them customized experience, customers expect — and demand — this attention and personalization.

Using digital tools to automate text messages, birthday reminders, or car anniversaries can facilitate your team of salespeople pre-planning their touches with the customers. Some buy here pay here dealerships are even using text messages for payment reminders and collections notices.

This pre-planning allows team members to use templates and schedule the contact ahead of time; that means a salesperson can assist a customer at the dealership at the same time that they are nurturing a lead, saving valuable time (and therefore, money). When you consider buy here pay here software options, you want to make sure that your CRM has this capability so that you can build and strengthen community relationships. Buy here pay here, is, after all, a business built on relationships.

4. Manage Cash Flow 

COVID-19 reiterated the importance of managing cash flow, which will continue as vaccines roll out and the economy responds to the long-term effects of the past year. Although there’s hope that things will return to normal around the 2ndquarter of 2021, it’s normal to expect that after an event such as this, there will be customers whose lives have been affected by COVID-19. There may be an increase of customers for buy here pay here, as a result, and potentially, higher demand for buy here pay here inventory.

Dealers must think about cash flow for the long-term, not just the immediate moment, or even the upcoming three to four months. Develop a strategy and plan that mitigates risk to your cash flow. Ensure that you have adequate capital and know exactly what your costs are for competitive inventory and your operating expenses. You are no longer just competing against the buy here pay here dealer down the street, you’re also competing against much more sophisticated investors with deep pockets.

A seamless CRM that integrates with your DMS can help facilitate many of these best practices; the right buy here pay here software helps control costs and expenses by implementing efficient systems and procedures that support the steps mentioned above.

For more BHPH best practices check out this interview with Jason Reaves:

Source: 4 Best Practices for Buy Here Pay Here Dealerships