Being an auto dealer comes with a great deal of opportunity, but operating the business side of life can be a daunting task. Auto dealers need resources that are easy to access and simple to comprehend in order to stay afloat in a highly competitive environment. The following resources represent the top 10 go-to providers of information online, helping auto dealers run and grow their businesses in an efficient and profitable way.
Training and Education Resources
Each state has its own requirements as far as education and training are concerned for auto dealers, both new and seasoned. But several resources exist online that provide training materials like informative articles, videos, tutorials, and e-books. Educational resources can lend a hand in the sales and marketing department, in finance divisions, business operations, and ongoing compliance with state and local regulations. Dealer Training Hub is a comprehensive online resource for these types of materials, as is the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA).
Auto dealers must stay up to date with industry regulations, but doing so can be a bit overwhelming when also focusing attention on running a successful business. NIADA also offers relevant and timely information on industry-wide changes in legislation and compliance procedures. Similarly, the National Automobile Dealers Association, NADA, provides a vast amount of information online for auto dealers wanting to stay abreast of trends and shifts in regulations.
Technology and Software Resources
It is no question that most auto dealers operating in today’s competitive marketplace need to keep up with the digital revolution. Fortunately, there are technology-infused tools and software options from countless vendors, focused on auto dealers and the unique needs of their businesses. A comprehensive list of the most highly rated auto dealer technologies and software platforms can be found here.
Formal education and training is one path auto dealers can take to ensure they are compliant and up to date with the most recent industry needs. However, keeping an eye on new articles from industry thought leaders, successful auto dealers, and salespeople throughout the dealer world is helpful. There are some blogs focused on sales and marketing techniques, while others set their sights on the latest news, research, and trends. Auto Dealer Today is a great online resource for dealers, as is this informational blog.
Another go-to resource online for most auto dealers is a professional forum or community of other dealers. In an open forum online, dealers are able to present questions to others who may have insight on similar issues, or share success stories or challenges that have helped shape their businesses. Driving Sales has an open forum structure for auto dealers, as does Dealer Refresh.
Marketing is a must for auto dealers these days. Strategies for incorporating a strong marketing strategy into a dealer business may include social media campaigns and advertising, a dealer blog for current and prospective customers, or local ads in print, on the radio, or on television. However, given the vast amount of marketing that can be done, it is often a good idea to get some expert direction. Auto dealers have many resources online for marketing help, including this comprehensive source.
Several factors must be considered when running an automotive dealership, with one of the most important surrounding management of the business. For smaller dealers, the Small Business Administration offers a myriad of online tools and resources to create a strong business plan, get up to speed on business financials, and insight on how to grow a business from the bottom up. NIADA and NADA also have several resources for auto dealers as they work to start, improve, or grow their business over time.
All auto dealers are required to provide some protection for customers against bad business practices or misrepresentations in sales. This is most often accomplished with the help of a surety bond for auto dealers. Getting a bond shouldn’t be a complex process, but there are certain steps to take once licensing and state requirements are met. This online resource offers ample information about auto dealer bonds, the process, the price, and options for dealers with less than perfect credit.
Each state has varied requirements for auto dealer licensing which can make it difficult to know where to go for the correct, most up to date information. This e-book on auto dealer licensing is a great place to start, as it spells out the types of licenses needed, the agencies that grant auto dealer licenses in all 50 states, how to get bonded, and paperwork requirements. This vast online resource also breaks down business location requirements for new auto dealers.
Finally, sales are crucial to the sustainability of any auto dealer, no matter how big or small the business. There are several online resources available to auto dealers that focus on sales training and sales concepts, as well as strategies for reducing salesperson turnover and customer satisfaction. These can be invaluable tools in operating a successful auto dealership.
Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.