With the economy on shaky ground rounding out 2009, every business owner across the country is trying to do two things right now: increase sales and decrease expenses.
Those two are pretty much the keystones for staying afloat in a downturn. But, how do you do it?
It can be tempting to hire a business coach or productivity expert to help you figure it out, but you really don’t need to. You’ve got a business expert in your store already; you just might be looking in the wrong places.
We’re talking about your dealer management software (DMS). Surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. Lots of business owners look at their DMS as something that helps them ring up customers and track costs. A tool, and nothing more.
But your DMS system can help you transform your business, if you know how to use it. It can help you trim costs, manage inventory, increase your sales, and improve productivity. All of which adds money to your bottom line.
In the next few months we’re going to be focusing on how dealers can use their DMS system to thrive into the new year. This month’s focus? Increasing sales.
1. Increase Sales With Add Ons
Most good DMS systems are going to have an “Add On” feature that reminds your employees to upsell items upon check out.
Here’s how it works: say one of your customers buys an ATV. If your employee forgets to mention snowplows or gun racks while they’re still out on the sales floor, your DMS system will remind them upon check out. As soon as that employee scans the ATV tag, a small screen will pop up that lists a few closely related items they can suggest to the customer.
Utilizing the Add On feature is an easy way to increase your sales. The only downside is that it takes time to input cross-sell items into the system. But once you’ve told the system what products you want it to “add on” for which items, you’re done.
2. Use Your DMS To Track Lost Sales
We’ve all done this song and dance before. A customer walks in and says, “Do you have any Arai Quantum Series helmets in stock?” Sadly, you don’t stock Arai helmets, so the customer walks out the door empty handed.
What you don’t know is that this is the third customer this month to walk in looking for that particular type of helmet. Because you don’t stock it, you’ve now let around $1,500 walk right out the door. Yikes.
If you had the Lost Sales tracking feature enabled in your DMS system, however, you’d know how much money you were losing by not stocking that particular product. And, you’d know that you need to start stocking it asap before you lose any more money.
Tracking lost sales is a great way to increase your profits, simply because it keeps you abreast of what your customers are really looking for. And when you give them that, you make money.
3. Use Your DMS To Created Bundled Kits
Lots of businesses use this technique, and if you haven’t yet tried it in your own dealership then now’s the time to start.
Bundled kits are a great way to increase sales. Basically, you package two or three products together to sell for a “special low price”. Need an example? Well, think of fast food value menus, or “dinner and a movie” packages from your local restaurant.
As a powersports dealer, you could come up with some really creative packages for your customers. You could sell a snowmobile along with a pair of gloves and a helmet at a special low price. Or you could do a lower-priced package of goggles, jacket, and boots.
You’re limited only by your imagination here. The great thing about bundling products is that everyone wins: you sell more products, and your customer saves money.
Your DMS system helps by allowing you to sell the bundled kit all at once. Your employees won’t have to ring up each item individually and then do a discount, which only opens the door for mistakes and unhappy customers. Your DMS system can ring up a kit in one fell swoop and get your customers out the door fast.
4. Send out Specific Offers With Your DMS
Everyone has sent out “20% off” coupons before, or had “Buy One, Get One” deals. While these work, they’re not the best way to increase sales. Why? Because they’re too generic.
Wouldn’t it be more effective to customize a coupon for every customer that shops in your store, based upon what they’ve bought in the past?
Sure it would. But, it would take weeks to do it, right?
Well, not with a good DMS system.
Your DMS system can help you create a highly customized digital mailing that can really help skyrocket your sales.
For instance, if Jane Doe bought a snowmobile from you a few months ago, you could send her an email thanking her for her purchase. You could also include an e-coupon for 20% off her first tune up, and 10% off a new pair of gloves.
Customized mailings can be done in a snap with your DMS system. And you might be surprised at how much they can boost your sales.
5. Increase Sales By Using A Layaway Program
A few years ago it seemed as if Layaway was going to amble down the same path as the wooly mammoth. In short, it was headed towards extinction.
In today’s economy, however, layaway programs are seeing a dramatic resurgence. People can no longer rely on easy credit like they used to. If they want something expensive, they now have to save up for it.
If you want to increase your sales, then you can help them do this by reviving (or starting) your layaway program. Your DMS can be instrumental in this by tracking who has what on layaway, what they’ve paid on it, and when it’s due. Without a system to track all this information, you layaway program can become an organizational mess.
Your DMS system is far more than a tool. If you take advantage of everything it has to offer, it’s much more like a savvy business partner. And in today’s economy, that just might be exactly what you need to thrive.