With a fourth record year for new car sales in succession likely, franchise dealers are being warned not to neglect their prospecting skills.
Research by dealer management systems provider Pinewood shows that dealers who are enjoying strong sales often divert resources away from prospecting when times are good - but pay the price when the market starts to decline.
Neville Briggs, Pinewood's managing director, says: “Dealers who are enjoying strong footfall in an upward market often stop prospecting almost completely because they are so busy dealing with the sales and enquiries from customers who come to them.
“When strong sales periods drop away in the motor industry, it happens quickly. These dealers are effectively setting themselves up for a fall.”
Pinewood research shows that two in three dealers use outdated prospecting techniques or fail to prospect at all - and that these dealers also usually fail to see any growth in profitability during the preceding 12 months.
This study is carried out by Pinewood on a rolling basis and covers a database of 1,040 dealers contacted over 12 months.
Briggs continued: "Dealerships should do everything possible to avoid a stop-start business cycle. Prospecting is a core activity for any car sales operation and should always be carried out as part of a dealership's day-to-day business."
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has forecast record sales this year of 2.6 million units