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Published on January 4, 1999

TIME TO REVIEW, IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS

The beginning of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on what your dealership is doing well and what aspects of the business need improvement. While pondering these issues, consider viewing your company through the eyes of a customer.

What image does your dealership have in the marketplace? If customers can't describe your business in a few words, then perhaps more effort is needed to provide it with a definable identity.

Does your dealership's appearance both inside and out convey that image? Does it open early enough — perhaps before 8 a.m. — so that customers can drop off their vehicles for service before work? Does it remain open after 5 p.m. on weekdays and later than noon on Saturdays?

If not, you're forcing some of your customers to go elsewhere for more convenient store hours.

What other accommodations do you offer to make doing business hassle-free for customers? Do you provide them with convenient credit terms, fresh coffee, a pleasant waiting room, clean restrooms or shuttle service to and from work or the nearest shopping mall?

Are your employees friendly, efficient and well-trained?

Do they represent the business properly when you, the owner, aren't around?

Are they convinced your dealership is special in its own right? Do they project that pride to your customers?

Could you be losing sales because of poor phone techniques that discourage customers?

Is your business location easily accessible, and does it offer adequate parking? Is its product mix ideal for your market? Is its service equipment adequate for today's expensive and technologically sophisticated vehicles?

Annually taking stock of your dealership in this manner is essential in today's highly competitive business climate. Rest assured that your competitors also will be reviewing their operations with an eye toward taking away business from you.

If you're not moving forward with fresh, new ideas and solid improvements, you're probably falling behind. Resolve to make 1999 a year of growth and prosperity for your business — and ask your employees to help.

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