Wake-Up Call in NYC: Part II

This is the second post in a three-part series about Director of Marketing Heather Wirtz’s recent trip to New York.  Throughout this visit, Heather had the opportunity to meet with execs at several dealerships.  While she had many takeaways, for the sake of space and our readers’ attention spans, she’s chosen to blog about three of them. Read Part I here.

The second takeaway from my trip is this:

2. The landscape changes quickly! Dealers diversify their in-store experience because of the need to strategize their own personal market challenges.

Yes – one big thought. A mouthful. I hadn’t been to New York before, let alone the outskirts of the city. And while I didn’t make it into the city, I noticed right away that square footage is definitely high demand and the population density was intense. When I go to a new town, I always grab local papers, real estate brochures and check out the local news. I try to immerse myself into their market and culture.

I must say I noticed right away that, in my opinion, the car you drive seemed more important than the property you lived in. I realize real estate and taxes are 6-10 times that of our market, but vehicles are priced the same. So the home you get for the price you pay is much more objective. The cars I saw through traffic were beautiful. They aren’t often seen here, in good ole DMA #68 – but they were everywhere in NY. So much so, it felt more of the norm than the extravagant purchase.

One dealership, Dan from Advantage Hyundai – was superb. When we got to his store – it was busy. And I mean busy. The showroom had 19 people in it – who did not work there. I counted. No party, no special, it was just a Tuesday.

His service area had two rooms off of the waiting area. One is a masseuse, the other a nail salon. Complimentary. While you wait. How cool is that? Not only did he explain his thoughts of customer service, he dropped everything and took us to a fantastic restaurant for lunch. Great guy, great business.

His operation is smooth and customer-focused. I love helping these guys with their creative. He introduced me to the new Elantra. What a cute little car. And what a tight supply right now. They are hard to come by and you really have to be on top of your game to get in the numbers and turn the right offers. Dan will do very well, I am certain. But what does that mean for the other places in the US? We service hundreds of Hyundai dealerships. What are they thinking right now?

A fifteen-minute drive through streets and stoplights will take you to a different area, market and dealership goal.  Such short drives, where one city ended and another began only broken by a sign on the street, if even that, and yet the whole landscape of the dealership and challenge changed. Where one was strategizing on maintaining tight inventory for a high-demand sales arena of fuel-efficient cars, the next was focused on leases and large truck promotion.

Creatively, from a marketing standpoint, I loved every minute of it. It was like an intense test of how quickly you can offer solutions to such vastly different questions in very short periods of time. I was on my toes.

Our dealer that was focused on leases and trucks had dilemmas with local bank incentives that have occurred lately and capturing the equity trades that exist now to turn new sales.

Another was more focused on a new model coming out and capturing a different audience than they were used to because of the price point and features. He wanted some brand focus.

In Queens, I wasn’t quite too sure what this GSM was focused on, but in my opinion it would be more attention to detail, showroom appearance and customer experience. That’s all I am sayin’, really.

Another Queens dealership had just the opposite and needed more lot footage. He needed concrete for inventory because he had it right. He was limited by space, not possibility. Maybe he should build up and have levels of showrooms. Or a parking garage of inventory.

We saw six dealerships within two days and a radius of 30 miles and not one had the same challenge, issue or audience. Each and every one of them can move mountains with in-store experience and relationship approach. Because in their area, what you drive appears to be the priority.

Coming soon – Part 3. Keeping that relationship…

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