5 things businesses can learn from the used-car industry

Later this year our company will celebrate its 35th anniversary. What started in 1982 as a public relations firm known as Smith and Associates has grown to become S&A Cherokee, encompassing two divisions: S&A Communications and Cherokee Media Group.

Through our relationship with CMG – which owns Auto Remarketing Magazine and many other media properties, and organizes conferences like Used Car Week – we’ve gotten to know the used-car industry quite well, and have signed several clients in the field.

Here are five things we’ve learned from the used-car industry that have application across the business world.

  1. Know your local market

Successful used-car dealers know what models sell well in their market, who their competitors are, and what they are charging for similar models. Likewise, businesses should know what products/services are in demand in their local market, what is not selling, and what competitors are offering.

  1. Data is critical

Car dealers now have access to online platforms that can track both the wholesale and retail prices of used vehicles in their market. Armed with this information, they can calculate how much they want to spend to acquire a used car, and how much profit they can expect when they sell it. Our client DealersLink has several excellent solutions for this. Businesses should employ sound practices based on hard data and predictive analytics.

  1. Collaborate with peer organizations

Dealerships across the country help each other out by selling and trading models that don’t sell well in one region but do well in another. Through our involvement in national and local PR associations, we’ve made referrals to other peer agencies if we think they are a better fit for a specific prospect. Yes, we occasionally compete outright with those firms for business, but we’ve also developed a mutual respect. We’ve also recently joined the Public Relations Global Networkand are enjoying collaborating with PR firms around the world on best practices and business development.

  1. Develop good relationships with vendors

Dealers work with numerous vendors for everything from signage and advertising to software and transport. For example, large dealership groups have good relationships with auto-transport companies like MetroGistics and can realize the benefits of negotiated deals and partnerships. By knowing your vendors’ strengths, weaknesses, operations and schedules, you’ll have a more realistic expectation of what and when they can deliver.

  1. Stay up-to-date on industry trends

Through magazines, newsletters, e-news sites, conferences and trade associations, used-car dealers stay in the know about trends and issues affecting the industry as a whole, and how those may impact their dealership. Business owners and managers should not only keep an eye on their industries, but should also seek opportunities to promote themselves as subject matter experts and thought leaders.

The used-car industry enjoyed record volume in 2016 – with an estimated 38.51 million used-car sales last year – so they must be doing something right. Contact S&A Communications if you want to learn more about how we can help you make inroads in this industry.

Author: Glenn Gillen, APR
Glenn Gillen is our Senior Account Manager.

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